Partner Interview: Programmatic is the natural next step in the evolution of OOH advertising

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Mike BC

At the end of last year, we announced our new partnership with iconic OOH media owner, Branded Cities. This new partnership allows more advertisers to create high-impact, data-driven digital OOH campaigns across landmark destinations across the U.S., such as Times Square, the Las Vegas Strip and Los Angeles. 

To gain a deeper insight into why Branded Cities chose to adopt programmatic trading, their current most popular screen locations and their exciting plans for the year ahead, we sat down with Director of Marketing and Innovation, Michael Galkin. 

Why has Branded Cities been adopting programmatic and how has selling this way benefited your business? 

Programmatic is the natural next step in the evolution of Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising. Publishers in our space have long been looking for a way to make OOH more easily transactable and accessible to buyers throughout the world and programmatic gives us that ability. At Branded Cities, we specialize in dynamic and large-format digital spectaculars, and we saw a space in the market for an inventory profile such as ours that could bring something unique to advertisers. 

Not only can we provide significant impression at each of our sites, but we can also provide that buzz and PR-worthy clout that you cannot get from a mobile banner ad. 

As a media owner, what benefits do you see from programmatic selling?

For Branded Cities, the benefits are numerous. We can extend our iconic spectacular platform to an entirely different set of buyers, both domestic and abroad. The ease at which creative can be delivered to our screens through platforms such as VIOOH creates efficiencies for our back-end tech stack and personnel. 

What challenges did you experience getting it off the ground and how has that effort paid off for Branded Cities?

Fortunately, not too many! I think for us, the challenge, if I have to call it that, tends to be a creative one. Branded Cities has very special signs. Our Harmon Corner display on the Las Vegas Strip for example, is the length of an American football field. Advertisers do not typically have creative ready for that type of execution, so it requires a little more education on our end. That said, many advertisers are up to the task once they realize the great canvas they have to work with when it comes to our spectaculars.

Your digital out of home inventory sits within iconic locations across the U.S., which screen locations have been most popular recently?

Throughout 2021 and the first half of this year, we have seen high demand for all our digital spectaculars, both on a direct-sales and programmatic-sales front. With locations in key areas like Midtown Manhattan and Times Square, to Philadelphia and Downtown Denver, to the Las Vegas Strip, our signs are where people are spending their time or easing back into office life. After 2020, people want to be Out of Home. 

Which new screens and locations are launching soon?

Branded Cities has some exciting things planned for 2022, it’s going to be a spectacular year for us. In the first half of the year, we launched a digital spectacular at the Port Authority in Manhattan, as well as began the rebuild of one of our flagship signs at 3 Times Square. Most recently, we just launched a massive large-format, awe-inspiring digital screen at the Moxy Hotel in Los Angeles, directly across from the Crypto.Com Arena (formerly STAPLES Center). We have a few other surprises too, but I’ll keep them secret until the next blog post!

What are you most excited about with the VIOOH partnership?

VIOOH has a great team from the top down, and Branded Cities is looking forward to the expanded reach that VIOOH can offer a publisher like Branded Cities. We want our inventory to be as easily bought in Europe and Asia as it is here in the States, and we believe that VIOOH has the ability to make that a reality. 

How much of a priority is programmatic digital OOH for Branded Cities this year?

2021 was a strong growth year for programmatic and Branded Cities and we look to continue that trend this year. With the new inventory we have coming online soon that will be available on VIOOH, we think that 2022 is going to be a year that advertisers can be very excited about. 

As a media owner, what are your predictions for the future of digital out of home in the next couple of years? And where does programmatic fit in?

The future is bright, and that’s not just the LEDs powering our signs. I think the key driver for digital OOH growth is ease of use, whether that is through automated systems, content delivery, or programmatic platforms. For OOH to keep taking a larger share of the overall advertising spend pie, we need to make it easy to buy. Programmatic will play a big role in this optimization and will grow in-step with the industry. The next step would be to solve for static OOH assets, but that is for another time!


To learn more about VIOOH’s partnership with Branded Cities, click here.