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A Future Built on Partnerships



Last week was a hugely exciting moment for the Out-of-Home industry, Exterion Media and in fact the transport market as a whole. As I’m sure you’ve seen, Transport for London (TfL) chose us, Exterion Media, as its partner for the largest Outdoor advertising contract in the world. The award includes the London Underground, DLR, Elizabeth Line (formerly Crossrail), London Overground and London Tramlink, and sets the foundation for a ground-breaking commercial partnership that will transform the Out-of-Home landscape.

The award is an important part of TfL’s overarching commercial strategy to raise £3.4bn from commercial activities to invest in the Capital’s infrastructure. The plan involves making the most of TfL assets from property development, including plans to build 10,000 homes on its land to sponsorship, maximising retail opportunities and a more commercial approach to advertising.

It’s an ambitious commercial strategy that requires new ways of working with all partners including their media partner. So why is Exterion Media’s new partnership with TfL so ground-breaking? Because, together, Exterion Media and TfL have a bold vision for the London Rail network that will fundamentally change the look and feel of advertising in the Capital, and the way that brands interact with consumers.

It’s a new business model in Out-of-Home, which calls for closer ways of working together, including an innovation centre to showcase new technology, enhanced data and insights collaboration and joint selling that will create opportunities for brands to reach passengers that goes far beyond paid-for advertising. It also calls for both organisations to work closer together, engaging brands not just for advertising but also broader commercial propositions such as retail and property.

Through the partnership we will enhance passenger journeys by improving station ambience through more attractive displays and improved placement sympathetic to station environments. We worked with experts in urban transport design and conducted extensive station audits to develop a set of advertising Planning and Placement Principles, which ensure our asset strategy contributes to elevating the customer experience.

Strategic partnerships, like ours with TfL, will unlock new revenue streams and grow Out-of-Home. Exterion Media recently launched Abi (Audience Behavioural Insights) through a partnership with Telefónica, which provides access to anonymised and aggregated data from 25 million O2 customers. This platform enables us to better understand and target Londoners using the TfL network and in doing so encourages advertisers to invest a greater percentage of their marketing budget in Out-of-Home. It also offers invaluable insight to support TfL with their development plans.

However, this isn’t just about London; we see wider opportunities and applicability to other transport networks. The partnership with TfL sets a benchmark for Exterion Media’s urban blueprint strategy, which we can take to other UK conurbations and transport environments.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is an example of an organisation that is creating true and engaging partnerships centred on a vision for the future of transport. Authorities like TfGM are creating their own blueprints for the future of travel and the profoundly important advancement in the prosperity of their economies.

I see a future built on partnerships – an enhanced and integrated service bringing together all the various partners including government and local authorities, operators, transport authorities, local businesses, and advertisers that together contribute to making the travel experience less complex and more enjoyable, relevant and inspirational for commuters. I believe that Exterion Media plays an important role as a media partner in the monetisation of a joined up transport network, so we can fulfil our duty to maintain and further invest in the transport environment in order to support transport authorities and cities in achieving their full potential.

Being chosen as TfL’s new commercial partner for London Rail advertising marks the beginning of what will be an exciting future as Exterion Media grows and brings our vision and partnership model to other likeminded and progressive transport networks across the UK and beyond. After a huge amount of planning, we’re now ready to get going and demonstrate results.  Meanwhile, I can sleep a little easier at night!

Written by Jason Cotterrell, first published in Passenger Transport