OneStop gives Pattison new-media boost: Otto

Pattison president Randy Otto talks to MiC about the details behind the company's latest acquisition, and about working with the city on a 'workable solution' to the billboard tax issue.

Pattison expanded its already-huge portfolio of Canadian OOH properties this week with the announcement that it has acquired Onestop Media Group for an undisclosed sum.

OneStop, a Toronto-based national DOOH company, maintains a network of info-based digital boards in transit stations, malls, residential towers, hotels, retail, buses and education institutions across the country.

MiC caught up with Pattison president Randy Otto and OneStop president Michael Girgis, speaking from Toronto’s City Hall, where the two were in the midst of working with the mayor’s office to find a ‘workable solution’ to the city’s potential appeal of an Ontario Court decision regarding the contentious billboard tax. Earlier this month, the court ruled in favour of the OOH industry, stating that the tax could only be applied to signs erected after April 6, 2010.

‘We’re trying to reach out to the mayor and the members of council to say the industry wants to find a solution that isn’t the next step in the court battle,’ Otto explains. ‘We don’t want to spend any more money on lawyers, we don’t think they do either, and what we want to do is see if there’s a working solution.’

Girgis and Otto will be spending a lot more time together in the months ahead, as the two companies work to create a ‘seamless’ portfolio of inventory in the wake of the acquisition.

Girgis is set to remain on as president of OneStop and all staff will remain on board as the company comes under the Pattison umbrella. The goal is to create a single point of contact for both networks, Otto says, adding that Pattison will continue to focus on its traditional OOH (including 75 digi boards) while OneStop will spearhead the digital and social side.

‘What OneStop brings to Pattison is truly a new way of looking at out-of-home using the new digital technologies and digital networks and innovation as it relates to social media,’ Otto says. ‘It’s a whole new realm and we’re very excited about it.’

The two companies have been working together for three years, with Ivanhoe Cambridge retail properties and Pattison’s Calgary International Airport advertising.

Declining to discuss the sum Pattison paid for OneStop, Otto only said that ‘both parties were happy’ with the deal and view it as mutually beneficial to both companies.