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The Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), Washington, D.C., says outdoor advertising industry revenue sustained the growth it experienced last year and showed an increase in the first three months of 2006—a total of $1.4 billion in spending.

“The industry’s growth last year has continued into 2006 and is again much higher than total ad industry growth, which grew 5.2% in the first quarter of this year,” says Stephen Freitas, OAAA’s chief marketing officer. “Indications are that the growth trend will continue into the second quarter and through the summer months.”

According to OAAA, outdoor media performance was up in eight of the top ten advertising categories for the first quarter of 2006. The Communications Category posted a 30% gain—a repeat of its 2005 performance—with more than 20 national brands increasing their out-of-home spending by more than 50%. The increase in this category also can be attributed to many first-time advertisers.

OAAA reports substantial growth in the Insurance and Real Estate Category, which saw a 26% increase over the previous year. This growth was stimulated by insurance companies responding to the press coverage that followed Hurricane Katrina and the other natural disasters during 2005. Nationally, OAAA notes, the slowdown of the real estate marketplace, in which new homes and resales are taking longer to sell, also has prompted more ad spending.

OAAA discovered the greatest spending was in the Local Services and Amusements Category, which grew 15.2% in the first quarter of 2006. The Public Transportation, Hotels, and Resorts Category grew 12.5%, and the Retail Category rose 10.2%. OAAA also recorded increases in the Financial Category (7.7%), Restaurants Category (4.3%), and the Media and Advertising Category (0.5%).

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