The OOH Digital Revolution


The OOH Digital Revolution

by Habib Wehbi

September 2022

Digital out-of-home is an experience, a power we should keep exploring, harnessing, and improving, writes Habib Wehbi, chairman and CEO of W Group in Campaign Middle East’s Power Essays 2022.

The pace of digital transformation, especially in out of home (OOH), shows no sign of slowing down, and media suppliers must keep up by embracing what’s up and coming about the digital era. Digital out of home (DOOH) represents an opportune moment for each advertiser and marketer to seize, at a time when traditional advertising is dwindling.

The shift from OOH to DOOH has become inevitable from a business perspective thanks to the advantages it has been bringing, such as targeting, enhanced traffic data, effectiveness, and accessibility, enabling brands to thrive and break through the noise.

It all comes down to this: the future of OOH media lies in digitization, technology, and the experience; and the context requires agility to maintain profitability for clients and uplift consumer brand experiences.

An impactful journey

This agility has been translated from the outset of W Group, through its journey to date and its vision. From introducing in-store trolley branding in 1999, Hypermedia – the main entity of W Group – tapped progressively into the setting of impactful in-store and in-mall media networks through exclusive partnerships with preeminent hypermarkets and malls in the UAE. It then forged ahead on a vast outdoor scale by clocking up key locations across the UAE, notably Sheikh Zayed Road (SZR) in Dubai. This expansion was backed by DigitAll, sister company of Hypermedia and the supportive port of call in drawing the path to further effective results, by planning and developing signage plans, offering digital consultancy, and applying digital content campaign management and smart solutions to increase engagement.

By sharing the futuristic vision of Dubai, Hypermedia went flat out to sign the largest long-term outdoor contract in the UAE for the investment and management of the Dubai Metro outdoor advertising with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in 2020. Since then, it has been tackling OOH advertising media planning as well as handling Metro stations’ naming rights, designing, operating, and marketing of advertising services at stations, trains, and lines of the Dubai Metro. This unprecedented strategic partnership has been a game changer for the outdoor advertising industry across the region. It brings in a wide range of highly sophisticated digital solutions. It also ranks Hypermedia as one of the pioneers of digital media that represents the largest share of key OOH media assets in the UAE.

This forward-thinking mindset allowed W Group to contribute to building a world-class OOH media infrastructure across the SZR, the ‘Z Gallery – Art of Media’, a network of more than 550 digital and static assets artistically designed to empower brands with a premium media ‘art experience’. This strategic media ecosystem was a state-of-the-art concept of presenting brands as artworks and masterpieces, across a wide variety of art displays, spread across different locations and sizes. It has transformed Dubai’s artery of connections into a phenomenal OOH media art exhibition, turned every asset into artwork and made basic screens and advertising platforms into ultimate art experiences.

Not only is Hypermedia positioned as the most advanced leading OOH technology media company in the region, but it also has the largest and most advanced network in the UAE today, marked by innovations and an ingrained experiential ecosystem.

OOH and data go hand-in-hand

Meeting consumers’ needs requires media suppliers to constantly deliver effectiveness, efficiency and accountability. This needs more innovative solutions in OOH like data measurement. Through a strategic agreement with Seventh Decimal, Hypermedia is putting audience measurement at the core of OOH trading, modernizing it as constitutional to any media mix and empowering brands to shift to data-driven decisions for both digital and static OOH, and maximizing their campaigns’ effectiveness.

It’s all about acting now and in the moment in this age. Hypermedia is enabling clients to accurately measure exposure to their campaigns and understand the audience exposed by relying on various metrics, a long-awaited goal of the OOH industry.

Apart from the major role of data, OOH is all about the experience; DigitAll has been hastening brands’ digitization by building innovative media assets, delivering them to Hypermedia and creating interactive experiences through activations – all of which are conducted through an array of services, including OOH data analytics and digital creative services.

The digital revolution modified business rules, personal relations, and communication. Brands are keeping up with this pace and changing how they are marketing their products. Committed to this purpose full on, W Group is always keeping its eyes on futuristic innovations and the latest approaches. Incorporating data metrics and smart solutions are just the steppingstones towards W Group’s future; it is orchestrating a soon-to-be-launched, data-based platform that will drive a more qualitative leap and more powerful impact in the world of OOH.