CODA gathers media clients and members for official launch

The Canadian Out-of-home Digital Association wants to lead the industry's operators into the future. Media clients say that calls for some breakthroughs in standardization.

The Canadian Out-of-home Digital Association (CODA) officially launched on Wednesday with a roundtable discussion bringing together senior media buyers, ad agency execs and OOH digital operators.

It was the second annual roundtable held by the newly incorporated association (whose new site is that evolved from the Canadian Digital Signage Association. Although the organization’s name has changed, the overall mission has not. CODA is dedicated to bringing leadership, research, education and best practices to the outdoor industry.

The two-hour discussion gave about 18 participants a forum for highlighting the challenges that lie ahead for the industry. It also allowed them to express their varying viewpoints on what CODA’s priorities – short- and long-term – should be in order to get digital OOH a bigger slice of marketers’ media budgets.

The discussion’s participants weren’t short of predictions about the future of digital OOH media. Ideas about what’s to come included consolidation of operators; decreases in the cost of new technology; advancements in the quality of screens and the interactivity and mass appeal of OOH digital; a change in consumer behaviour that will see them opting for participation with OOH digital creative; more so-called OOH digital real estate; and fewer barriers to entry for new operators.

The need for standardization rose to the top of the priority list when it came to defining what CODA’s next moves should be, and it didn’t take long for the Outdoor Broadcast Network’s Peter Irwin – who also holds the position of secretary with CODA – to ask: ‘What does standardization really mean?’ Several participants highlighted pressing needs like developing clear standards for creative options such as spot lengths, technical formats and loop duration. But when such priorities were listed and put to a vote, two took prominence.

According to the group’s consensus, CODA’s short-term priority should be on standardizing a rate card that clearly shows OOH digital options and costs. In the long term, advertisers want standards for measurement – i.e., a rating system. The media client side bemoaned the fact that some digital OOH operators are still ‘counting by cars’ (vehicular traffic) while others are doing pedestrian counts – while location and sight lines need to be incorporated into whatever ROI formula end up being used.

Representing CODA at the round table were Paul Bolte (OneStop Media Group), Ed Voltan (Catalyst Media Group), Gerry Marshall (Globallive), Peter Irwin (OBN), Andy Querin (Zoom Media), Philippe Marchessault (NewAd), David Kinear (Venue Vision/Newgen), Michael Gillisie (Pop Media/Motomedia), and Paul Jankauskas (Captivate/Verticore).

From the client side, participants included Cathy Collier (Cossette Media), Bruce Neve (Mediaedge:cia), Michele Beaulieu (Starcom Worldwide), Kelly Dutton (Gaggi Media), Kareen Boulos (Media Experts), Cory Pelletier (TAXI), Debbie King (ZenithOptimedia) and Jeff Marchand (Priority Media).

Click here to see who’s on CODA’s board of governors and executive committee.