Newad challenges competitor’s entry into COMB

The out-of-home operator says it does not want to be 'sitting at the same table' as competitor Rouge Media Group until the two parties' court battle is resolved.

A pending court battle between two out-of-home operators took a different turn yesterday as Montreal-based Newad publicly challenged a competitor’s application into the Canadian Out-of-Home Measurement Bureau (COMB).

In the ongoing disagreement between the two companies, Newad alleges that Rouge Media Group, also Montreal-based, is infringing on their exclusivity agreements with some 100 to 150 suppliers across Canada. Because of the legal proceedings in which Newad is demanding that those placements are removed, Philippe Marchessault, VP and GM of Newad, says Rouge Media Group should not be allowed membership into COMB, a national non-profit, independent media measurement organization.

‘Since we’re in a legal battle with them, we’re not interested in having them sitting at the same table,’ Marchessault tells MiC. Also at issue, according to Newad, is TraffikTM, a circulation methodology that Newad developed and sold to COMB, which is made available to members. Marchessault tells MiC that Newad does not want TraffikTM to be shared with Rouge in light of the current dispute. 

Rouge Media Group, which has been in the market for about six years, has applied for its most mature of three entities, Rouge Campus (it also owns Chapter 66 and Red Cats) to become a part of COMB, because of the benefits of having third party research to back its data, says Martin Poitras, president of Rouge Media Group.

When asked if he would have an issue being a part of the same organization as Newad, Poitras says: ‘Absolutely not. The court procedures have absolutely no impact on their business or our business,’ he tells MiC. Poitras says the campuses where they’ve placed business that also have agreements with Newad have ‘had their legal department go through, tooth and comb, to make sure that their licence, if they award [it to] us, is legit…They’re all okay with our presence,’ he says.

In a statement from COMB released to MiC by president Karen Best, the measurement bureau states that new member applications undergo several steps to ensure that the inventory being submitted is reliable and meets approved methodology standards. ‘Any application for membership, from Rouge or any other out-of-home operator, follows the same process and ultimately requires approval by COMB’s board of directors,’ COMB states.

The board is comprised of members from the out-of-home industry, advertising agencies and advertisers.