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OOH POV : COVID19 versus Milenyo Aftermath - Which One Hurt The OOH Industry More?

When Typhoon Milenyo struck the Philippines in September 2006, we all witnessed how the OOH media industry careened  to the edge of a precipice which spelled sure financial disaster.  As if the physical damage wasn't enough and OOH suppliers were spending money not rebuilding sites but clearing the pieces of steel debris, the industry had to deal with the likes of the feisty Sen. Miriam Santiago who had her own crusade against billboard blight.

If you remember those days, then I could only draw two conclusions.  One, you are old.  Ouch!  I'm sorry to rub it in but this also denotes one thing:  You are mature enough to know that this current onslaught of COVID19 and the ECQ is something which we will hurdle.  Tough times don't last but tough people do.

After Milenyo, advertisers spent the lowest percentage of their budgets towards outdoor media.  I recall that we were hovering at a measly 6% of total adspend.  The following year, 2007, did not show any hope as well.  But we made it through.

The second conclusion I am drawing from the statement I made earlier whether you recall the days of Milenyo is that you would have recalled that by the end of 2010, the outdoor media industry was approaching double digit adspend numbers.  OOH was back on track even despite all the trouble DPWH and LGUs were giving the suppliers in terms of permits.

Milenyo Aftermath

Enter COVID19.  Today we are faced with a pandemic which has kept people off the streets.  We are now spending most of our time indoors and hardly in contact with any OOH media.  Out of home media audience delivery is at its lowest.  In the first two weeks we've seen some multinational brand pull out their total advertising budgets and realigning it to COVID relief efforts.  Hardest hit are the restaurants and the tourism industries.

Prior to COVID, we've been seeing a lot of food related OOH being displayed.  Now, there is hardly any relevance for OOH in the cycle of purchasing food.

So we now go to the question posted in the title of this blog post.  Which will hurt more, COVID19 or Milenyo?

Well, there are many factors to consider.  One thing I can say though is that although the wound COVID is causing to business is deep, OOH suppliers should be thankful that the physical properties are intact (unlike after Milenyo).

What is placed on the physical properties is a different story.  And we are not just talking of the roadside billboards we are accustomed to.  Think about the lightboxes and LCDs in the malls.  The malls to begin with are closed.  I shudder to think about the revenue deliveries of those whose properties are based in the mall.  Then you have transit media.

Overall, this wound is really deep. Does COVID hurt more than Milenyo?  Let me answer it this way.  OOH is a kind of business where when things are good, it is really good!  When it's bad, things really hurt a lot.

Nevertheless, it's not something we can't crawl out off.  Even if ECQ is extended another 15 days.

Stay Safe and Healthy!

-Want to know more about consultancy for OOH related matters?  email me at info ( at )  or drop me a line by clicking here.

 - Lloyd Tronco

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