DOOH in Other Regions

Sikander AhmedYou may not realise it, but London leads the world in DOOH, said Cotterill at the start of the next session; go to New York and you’ll see for yourself. Anecdotally, UK business people like Tim Bleakley of Ocean Outdoor have spoken at DailyDOOH conferences in the USA and have been handed a business card by everyone in attendance, because London signage is much more advanced. This led neatly into a discussion on DOOH in other regions, which took the form of a (very small) ‘panel’ discussion between Steve Nesbit (president of Prestonwood Trail Holdings), Kaan Akin (CEO of Turkey’s Sistem 9 Medya) and Sikander Ahmed, senior MD of Middle Eastern investment firm NBK Capital.

Sistem 9 is a large network operator and digital media asset seller, managing around 18,000 screens in Turkey and with a presence in 10 other countries. NBK became a majority investor in the firm last year, because the company feels that digital signage is poised for growth in the areas that NBK operates in (MEA and Turkey).

Sistem 9 Kaan AkinKaan AkinSistem 9 focuses on ‘niche’ signage markets, like hairdressing salons and petrol forecourts. The company is not really looking to move into outdoor screens like billboards. Ahmed said that NBK had looked into this when searching for a company to invest in, and had decided that the areas that Sistem 9 operates in are growing quickly. He also discussed the difference between venture capitalists, which commonly invest in start-ups, and growth capitalists (like NBK), which usually invest in more mature companies. Venture capital firms are usually happy if just one in 10 of their investments succeeds, but NBK’s focus is not losing money!

Steve NesbitSteve Nesbit

Nesbit mentioned that Sistem 9 is very active in the QSR space, and asked how successful it has been. “Very” was the response – the overall head of Burger King in Turkey told Sistem 9 that his stores had seen sales rise by 15% – 20% after installing signage, and that was enough to convince everyone that it was the right thing to do.

Sistem 9 won a large tender last month, for around 9,000 screens, with Turksat – Turkey’s largest mobile phone operator. This will be a big project, said Akin – probably the largest of 2015. Turksat has around 1,200 branches and the signage will differ by store. Some will use video walls, some will have touch screens, others will feature portrait-style displays. The entire project will serve to promote Sistem 9.

Outside of Turkey, Ahmed and Akin both want to make Sistem 9 a leader for signage in CEE and MEA. Both regions are enjoying massive signage growth right now, although large-scale projects are lacking. There are huge opportunities, Akin said in closing.