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OUTFRONT Media Acquires Canadian Digital Billboard Portfolio
By Staff Writer
June 14, 2017

, June 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ OUTFRONT Media Inc. (NYSE: OUT) announced today that it has acquired a leading portfolio of digital billboards in Canada with locations in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
The transaction is structured as an acquisition of the equity interests of certain subsidiaries of All Vision LLC, which operates under the Dynamic Outdoor name. The Company paid approximately$94.4 million for the portfolio of assets, comprised of $50.0 million in cash and $44.4 million in Class A equity interests of the Company's Canadian subsidiary, subject to post-closing adjustments for closing date working capital and indebtedness, and for the achievement of certain operating income before depreciation and amortization targets relating to All Vision's assets.

About OUTFRONT Media Inc. 
OUTFRONT Media is one of the largest out-of-home media companies in North America with a leading presence in top markets throughout the United States and Canada. We have a diverse portfolio of billboard, transit and digital displays reaching mass audiences, as well as a distinct offering of prime assets impacting select markets. As part of our ON Smart Media technology development initiative, we are developing hardware and software solutions for enhanced demographic and location targeting, and engaging ways to connect with consumers on-the-go. 
Triad City Refuses to Allow Billboard Expansion
By Staff Writer
June 8, 2017
NC- High Point city leaders have shot down an effort that would have expanded billboard advertising in the city, most notably along high-profile corridors such as Eastchester Drive, North Main Street and West Wendover Avenue.

The council voted unanimously against the request by Fairway Outdoor Advertising, according to the High Point Enterprise, with city council members saying they'd seen little support for it from businesses and significant opposition from the public.

The city's 48 existing billboards are in industrial areas, and the city observed that many of them are in disrepair. Surveys of High Point Chamber of Commerce members found that 53 percent were opposed to opening up new areas of the city to billboards, but the city got only a 5 percent response rate to its queries, the Enterprise reported.

"I don't know how you can come to the conclusion that chamber folks are in favor of this with only a 5 percent participation rate," Mayor Bill Bencini was quoted as saying.
Antonio Vincenti is the former chairman of FEPE, the international OOH organization which convenes in Stockholm this week (OAAA Chairman Sean Reilly and I will speak there).

By sharing his story, Antonio gives us perspective. We all have problems, but Antonio has faced war and government seizure. The government bulldozed more than 3,000 of his billboards.

In a sense, we all are builders. We build sales, relationships, teams, and growth.

Antonio is a re-builder.

His story - from halfway around the world - reminds us of key fundamentals:

The power of persistence

The importance of constitutional protections in the US Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech and the Fifth Amendment's safeguard of property rights

Thank you Antonio, for your gift to your colleagues in the US industry: perspective.

Antonio Vincenti overcame them all. His boards are up... and with a powerful message: #LifeBacktoNormal

Based in Beirut, I operate in eight countries. Click here for a slideshow of my inventory (billboards, malls, and shelters).

I am not trapped in the past, but at times it is important to remember how we got here. In that spirit, I share with you three challenges I have faced, starting with government seizure.

The Challenge of Bans

In August 1995, the government of Lebanon decided to remove all billboards from the streets of the country. In just one week, our 3,300 billboards were destroyed by bulldozers (one-third of the country's total of 10,000 billboards).

On the brink of bankruptcy, we laid off 70 of our 87 employees. It took a full year of lobbying state authorities to secure a new regulation allowing us to resume our work.
This event was a defining moment in my life.
  • Government seizure highlighted the importance of our reputation and commitment to community by helping citizens' groups. Our solid reputation generated sympathy and support throughout this tough period, which made many politicians uneasy. This dynamic helped pave the way to new regulations.

  • I decided I could no longer be reliant on a single market and be exposed to such an extreme risk again.

  • Government seizure strengthened my character. It made me determined to question administrative decisions, and to fight the unfair ones.
Those bulldozers reinforced my determination to rebuild the business - with my 17 colleagues - even stronger than it was before. We would become the leading OOH company in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, and recently expanded into West Africa.

Today, we are a team of 450 professionals in eight markets with a total of 13,000 faces and 166 digital screens.

The Challenge of Wars

My destiny is to operate in countries affected by war, revolution, or threat of terrorism. This is the case in all eight countries where our group is present.

War creates destruction and suffering. Civil war is even worse, with chaos, betrayals, and widespread devastation.

Yet, for those who dare to work under such conditions, war also creates opportunities. Economies are volatile during times of war; with big risks come big rewards. Economic growth is at its fastest during the early stages of conflict, before a typically lengthy period of stagnation and contraction. This is followed by recovery when there is a consensus that war will soon end.

A main challenge to be overcome is in shaping a network of multifaceted teams with a shared familial, sectarian, and geographical association. The value of alignment, sense of ownership, dedication, and perseverance within a team working together in time of war is second to none. Once this is secured, the market needs to be addressed in the same way as if "life is as usual."

By that, I mean with optimism, assurance, and above all to delivering on commitments. At these times, trust is paramount.

These are the underlying reasons for creating our hashtag #LifeBackToNormal as a tribute to the suffering of Iraq's second city, Mosul, and to celebrate a return to normal life.
The Challenge of Aiming to be Part of the Best in Class

How do you build a world-class OOH company in countries where the size of advertising budgets is limited, you are governed by economic uncertainties that prevent even five-year plans, and clients expect the best service and the latest technical innovations?

There is only one answer: You must have total commitment and a long-term view.
  • We offer our team a stable lifetime career.

  • We abide by laws and regulations, aspiring to be a model landlord.

  • We assure advertisers and media agencies that - no matter what - campaigns go out on time. For example, our LED signs have alternative power supplies.

  • We continue to invest in materials from the best suppliers so we stand out from the competition and became the OOH market's point of reference.
Such a vision takes decades to implement; overcoming government seizure and war instills persistence with a long view.
What's Brewing Under the Rooftop Billboard?
By Ken Klein
June 8, 2017
Beer.  Lots of beer.

This prime frontage property - adjacent to "the loop" in Bridgeport, CT - is a microcosm of two national trends in media and consumer tastes.

Billboard execs John and Bruce Barrett, brothers who own Barrett Outdoor Communications in nearby West Haven, bought the building in Bridgeport in 2002.  They put a billboard on the roof, visible from high-volume Interstate 95.

Built in the late Forties, this site was a distribution center for newspapers printed in New Haven, Waterbury, Hartford, New York, and Boston.  Twice a day, newspapers were folded, bundled, and shipped for home delivery.

Now a 12,500-square foot brewpub called Brewport occupies this space, offering craft beer, pizza, and salads.  Menus are displayed in vintage newspaper vending machines.

Trend No. 1:   Out of home media (billboards and other formats) will overtake newspaper ad spend in 2019, according to media forecaster MAGNA.

Trend No. 2:  Craft beers are hot.

"One craft beer trend is certain for 2017: it's boom time," said industry publication Beverage Dynamics.
Billboards teased the opening of Brewport in June 2016, and continue to promote the pub.
"While driving into the office today up 95 through Bridgeport I noticed a digital billboard that simply said Coming Soon... BREWPORT.  Pizza and Beer. The two things that will spark the revitalization of Bridgeport. We've been waiting YEARS for Bridgeport to turn things around and that time is finally almost here in the form of delicious slices and cold pints," Kevin Begley posted on website CTBoom on May 10, 2016.
Elected officials applaud the job creation.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, helps make pizza

Brewport has 24 taps and 20 more beers in bottles, says master brewer and partner Jeff Browning.

"All beer drinkers are polygamists," says Browning.  "We want people to come in, have a few of our beers, and then try something else."

One of Brewport's craft beers is called "Old News" (8 percent alcohol), a tribute to the newspaper heritage of the former print distribution center.

"News of the day would be shuffled through our doors and Old News drinks to that heritage. We brewed this double using old-school hops and traditional American malt for an in-your-face flavor and intense hop character," says Brewport's website.

Billboards Cross-Promote

The Barrett brothers are not the first to cross-promote via billboards.

Since the summer of 2016, an iconic rooftop billboard near an approach to Manhattan has advertised iHeart Radio.  The 8,000+ square foot billboard is operated by iHeartMedia unit Clear Channel Outdoor Americas.

Atop the old Ruppert Ice House on the New York skyline

In St. Louis, a company called DDI Media is part of the enterprise that owns Drury Hotels.  A Trip Advisor contributor posted this online review:

"After seeing the billboards for this hotel (Drury Inn & Suites, Valdosta), I called the Drury reservations line before we actually got to the hotel . . . the kind gentleman quoted us the best rate . . ."

The first Drury hotel opened in Skieston, MO, in 1973, rooms were $10.88 and up.