Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings ($CCO), now officially an independent company following its spin out from iHeartMedia, is making a bet that the oldest form of advertising in the world still has legs in a digital era.
"We're the fastest growing traditional medium," said Clear Channel Outdoor CEO William Eccleshare, speaking to Cheddar fresh off ringing the opening bell at the NYSE Thursday. Out-of-home (OOH) advertising ー that's billboards, bus stops, subway signage ー is indeed showing strength even as more advertising shifts online and is gobbled up by Facebook, Google, and now Amazon.
There's a fairly simple explanation for the ability of outdoor ads to weather the digital disruption, according to Eccleshare. Unlike nearly every other kind of ad, OOH doesn't interrupt an experience.
"We reach people when they're very receptive to advertising," he said.
Think about it. When you're waiting for a bus, or riding the train, or sitting in traffic, you've got the time and inclination to read about a new product or show. It doesn't feel like a bombardment, the way a radio or TV commercial or an online banner ad often does. That's the secret sauce to OOH, Eccleshare said, and it stands the test of time.