Kirsty Dollisson, Managing Director of TorchMedia:

2023 is the year that Out of Home proved how resilient it can be, making a complete recovery following the pandemic – and it’s been a thrill to re-emerge in such a big way. This time last year I forecast that OOH would surpass 2019 investment levels in 2023, and we absolutely did that. From TorchMedia’s perspective, we saw expenditure from existing clients return to pre-COVID levels, in line with patronage across most forms of transit. Large scale events with a global audience, including VIVID Sydney, Sydney World Pride, FIFA Women’s World Cup and SXSW all contributed to a year of record growth across our transit portfolio, with many clients trialling transit media formats as a result.

Looking to specific transport modes, patronage on Ferries has seen the biggest jump since 2019, with the primary purpose for travel shifting to leisure as opposed to the work commute. Other modes including the Sydney Light Rail and Sydney Metro also have seen incredible patronage growth, as these networks become more embedded within their communities. The Sydney Light now sees over 3 million monthly passenger journeys and is continuing to grow.

Given the size and value of these commuter audiences, we are seeing many new clients across all categories turn to transit media for the first time. One notable trend has been increased investment from luxury and travel clients who are looking to capitalise on surging tourism both domestically and internationally. In 2023 our clients were creating big, bold, brand campaigns that incorporate moving assets and stellar creativity. TorchMedia has loved every minute of the journey this year seeing this great resurgence of Transit OOH.

The Out of Home sector is anticipating continued growth in 2024, in line with industry collaboration on key projects, such as MOVE2. We are excited about the expanded scope of MOVE measurement that for the first time will allow us to measure our assets in Canberra and Tasmania alongside those in the five capital cities.

We are seeing our current clients utilise and trial new transit formats and we expect this to continue into 2024. We expect clients to maintain a keen eye on the creative they are using for their transit campaigns, making sure artwork is being adapted to best suit the environment in order to have the most impact. With that in mind, we’re encouraging our clients to utilise DOOH, including our new Sydney Metro Northwest digital network, to its fullest potential. We believe this is a huge growth opportunity for the Out of Home industry as strategy and creativity catches up to technological development, and we are excited to help our clients deliver more contextually relevant, multi-modal transit campaigns in the new year.

The current state of the market has seen advertisers across certain categories tightening the belt in-line with economic conditions, while others have been planning ahead for big brand building campaign activity into the New Year. The benefit of having digital networks across our Sydney Metro and My Fast Ferry portfolios is the ability to provide advertisers with options to activate short term campaigns.

We are also seeing more and more future-focussed brands, looking to align with similarly purpose driven partners, in particular, around areas of sustainability and accessibility. This is both from the perspective of communicating their initiatives to broadcast audiences, but also holding media to account on their own actions. We support this entirely and are actively progressing our own sustainability initiatives in 2024, as well as working with our Transport partners as they improve sustainability, accessibility and community support across public transport networks.  

Originally published by Adnews, 13 December 2024. The AdNews end of year Perspectives series features industry leaders looking back at 2023 and forward to next year.