Editorial

Digital Place-based Ad Revenue Exceeds $1 Billion and Growing: DSPulse’s Interview with Barry Frey, President and CEO of the DPAA

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Barry Frey gave this exclusive interview to Nurlan Urazbaev, Editor-in-Chief of digitalsignagepulse.com

Barry Frey - office (2)

Barry Frey at his Madison Ave. office

DSPulse: Why was the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association created?
BF: The DPAA was founded in 2006 to represent digital placed-based ad networks and promote their integral role in what we now call the “video everywhere” ecosystem. Some of the original rationale actually came from my good friend David Verklin when he was CEO of Aegis and saw a need for the industry association.

On behalf of our members, we foster collaboration between advertisers, agencies, digital place-based networks and all members of this ecosystem including technology companies, venues and production companies. DPAA provides standards, best practices and industry-wide research; all while promoting the effectiveness of our medium. The DPAA plays an essential role in advancing the industry, similar to other trade associations such as the TVB, CAB, IAB and so on.

DSPulse: After 8 years in existence, what changes in the DPB advertising market has the DPAA brought about?
BF: There have been many major milestones over the years, but perhaps the two biggest are the increased number and sophistication of research tools available to planners, and the growth of overall ad revenue volume that now exceeds $1 billion, excluding cinema. These two accomplishments go hand in hand, and they remain top priorities for us today.

DSPulse: You’ve been at the helm of the DPAA for over one and a half years now. Has your perception of DPB advertising changed based on what you have learned about the medium while at the DPAA?
BF: Before accepting the position I had thoroughly researched the DPB sector, so I will say that its effectiveness and efficiency as an ad vehicle, growth prospects and audience delivery did not come as a surprise. I didn’t know too many of the industry’s executive leaders, though, and having since worked closely with them over these past 18 months, I must say it has been a fantastic experience.

The quality and depth of leadership in our industry is incredible. I wouldn’t categorize this as a change in my perception because I didn’t have any preconceived notions on day one, but it’s certainly added to my level of enthusiasm and bullish outlook for our sector. We’re in good hands.

DSPulse: Are there any other industry associations that compete with the DPAA?
BF: Industry associations do not really compete with each other. For the most part we all have healthy dialogues about how to best serve our members. Because of the vast change in consumer habits, advertising is more fungible than ever before. All associations are seeking new parts of this changeable pie.

We agree with our internet friends that some video agnostic monies should shift from TV to web reflecting tech and consumer change. However, digital place-based networks make a great competitive case for getting some of this money moving with the eyeballs. We all know TV viewership is challenged on every front and ad budgets are on the move. Yet, according to the 4th Quarter 2013 Nielsen Cross Platform report, 94% of video viewing on the web comes from only 18% of the viewers. Additionally, with the current rash of web video viewability and fraud issues, DPB offers screens that are all “above the fold” for the full extent of the commercial and have none of the digital fraud problems.

DSPulse: There has been a controversy about what to call the medium: digital place-based media, digital out-of-home, digital outdoor, digital screen media and digital signage. Understandably, if you cannot name it, it is difficult to sell it. According to Google, the highest numbers of search results in News are for ‘digital signage’ and ‘digital outdoor’, while ‘digital place-based’ produces the least amount of search results. DPAA is the second attempt to find a proper name for the association and the industry. Originally it was named OVAB. It was not you who gave the association its current name. Are you satisfied with the name?
BF: I think ‘digital place-based’ is a good description for what our networks deliver. I don’t know that there has been ‘controversy’ about what to call the industry, but I will acknowledge that there sometimes is some misuse of terminology. I would disagree that the previous name change was an attempt to find a “proper name.”

We are in a rapidly shifting technological and media market. Name changes here are evolutionary and reflect the ecosystem growth. I don’t believe, however, that this has negatively impacted our sector’s growth in any way. In my discussions with the DPAA Board, we are always seeking to optimize all of our business practices and marketing initiatives. If we believe the shifting landscape and other factors deem that we examine a name change then we will review that.

DSPulse: Has DPB media become a separate line item in media buying budgets? How is it bought today?
BF: Increasingly, yes, it has become a separate line item. And a substantial number of DPB buys are coming from TV and online budgets as video neutral strategies take hold.

DSPulse: What are the challenges facing DPB media?
BF: As a relatively young medium, we still sometimes find ourselves having to shift deeply entrenched planning practices. But there’s no question that the video neutral planning approach is gaining traction as the data to do so is too compelling to ignore. There is a clear case to be made, for example, that shifting some TV dollars to DPB will extend reach and improve effectiveness.

DSPulse: Every year the DPAA holds a summit conference. It used to be called Digital Media Summit, and as of last year it’s been renamed Video Everywhere Summit. How has this event evolved since its inception?
BF: On November 4 we will be holding our 7th annual event. When the Summit began, it was primarily designed to build awareness for DPB networks and to demonstrate that it works as an ad vehicle. Today, it’s more about the overall video ecosystem and the role that DPB plays in it, hence the ‘Video Everywhere’ branding. We’ve also grown from a turnout of 100-200 to 600+, a reflection of the great interest in the subject matter.

DSPulse: What is different about the upcoming Video Everywhere Summit?
BF: At last year’s summit we introduced the concept of Video Everywhere and where we fit within this new advertising ecosystem. This year the Video Everywhere mantra has been well-embraced by brands and agencies and the conversation is more around how consumers are surrounded by media options and how advertisers can best manage and optimize this. We come at this from several angles – where we fit in programmatic buying, how mobile and DPB interact and activate each other, multi-screen strategies, and how clients are managing this.

Finally, we are doing a session on how to effectively manage growth. This is something all media companies (not just DPB) face, as well as agencies who buy the medium. Here we will explore issues of innovation, diversity, how they contribute to growth and how to leverage them.

DSPulse: What is the future of advertising and of DPB media in particular?
BF: Well, Nurlan, thanks for thinking that I can actually responsibly answer what the future of all advertising is. Nevertheless, since you asked, I will give you my view.

Technology, brands, data, consumer habits and marketing will grow increasingly more interdependent. Technology will continue with an ever quickening pace of innovation, thereby aggressively altering consumer habits. Marketers and media companies that embrace this change and lead with solutions will win.

As long as there are products and services to be sold, there will be a robust future for the advertising industry. For DPB, we will continue to see advertising growth rates that are the highest or among the highest of any media sector. According to Miller, Kaplan, Arase, ad revenue for the digital place based sector grew by 13.0% in 2013 over 2012, the second highest growth rate across all media. For 2014, MyersBizNet forecasts a continuation of double-digit growth with a 12.6% gain. This is a good time to be in DPB media!

To learn more about DPAA, go to: dp-aa.org

To learn more about the DPAA’s Video Everywhere Summit, go to: videoeverywheresummit2014.com