Inside JCDecaux’s plans for the ‘forgotten’ suburban advertising gem Sydney Trains


King Street, Newtown.

French company JCDecaux has taken over one of Australia’s largest out-of-home communications contracts, Sydney Trains, and has big plans to modernize the network with high-resolution digital screens.

The deal, via a tender, lasted more than two years and in the process, the incumbent, oOh! Media, was dislodged.

JCDecaux is taking over 1,500 sites from December 1 and the restrictions linked to the pandemic are expected to ease soon, freeing consumers from their homes to travel and spend. In 2019, pre-COVID Sydney Trains recorded 420 million trips per year.

The assets cover the commuting trips from the rail hall to the platform, and more than double JCDecaux’s current roadside digital footprint in New South Wales.

And the NSW agency that operates trains, Transport for NSW, has dramatically improved the revenue stream from advertising.

Sydney’s victory gives the outdoor media group a range of rail assets across Australia, including Queensland Rail, Southern Cross Station (Melbourne’s largest) and the Perth Transport Authority.

JCDecaux CEO Steve O’Connor said AdNews: “We are awaiting the results for Adelaide and, if successful, it will be a rail offer from five capitals that has never been done before,” said O’Connor.

Ads for the new Sydney deal have not been released, but those deals typically include a share of Sydney Trains’ advertising revenue and a guaranteed amount.

Transport for NSW obviously got a much better deal. He says the contract promises to declutter stations while generating record revenue.

“Valued at over half a billion dollars, these are the largest public transport advertising contracts in Australia, and they will more than triple previous outdoor advertising revenues on the Sydney Trains network,” said government agency.

Where will the money come from?

O’Connor at JCDecaux: “Most of the income will be digital, but there is a very large quantity of signs on paper which do not all deserve to be digitized.

“There are some 1,500 site views that we can access. About a third of these will be digital, but that will end up contributing around 90% of the revenue once it’s all built. “

Daniel Cutrone, media manager at C Avenue, says the Sydney train deal is a huge victory.

“The Sydney train is a big plus, but it has recently become the forgotten child in the commuter space,” he says.

“Putting the spotlight on the format that is part of JCD’s largest arsenal will help push the product to be able to reach all of Sydney’s commuters, whether by car, train, bus or on foot.

“Over the past 18 months, there has been caution when shopping in and around public transport as it has seen the slowest returns to pre-pandemic levels. However, we expect audiences to return following the upward trends we have seen with drivers / pedestrians.

“One of the biggest changes in the large format landscape across New South Wales that we have seen in years, as JCDecaux strengthens its assets in metropolitan and regional areas by significantly expanding its portfolio in New Wales from South.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for advertisers to acquire new and refurbished assets as they are deployed in the greater Sydney area. More premium sites are ultimately good for customers, with improved coverage and more choices. ”

A commuter stopping at Wynyard Station in Sydney’s CBD, one of Australia’s busiest, will notice some changes going forward.

“They’ll have a better quality LCD array there,” says O’Connor. “And the tunnel, the Barangaroo Walk, will have some really good new digital signs to capitalize on this great flow of traffic that’s going from Wynyard to Barangaro.

“In these indoor environments, we’re also going to be looking to develop opportunities for premium video, and as you know, premium videos have really been driving the online market for quite some time now, so we’re going to try to capitalize on that. tendency.

“But it’s not just about stations. They provide a very good sized audience and, what’s important to us, they spend a lot of time living in these environments which creates a really strong and engaging advertising proposition.

“But the revenue pillar is actually generated by the digital roadside billboards. This is the biggest part of the contract, in terms of the contribution of revenues to the overall pie.

“You will see a very significant expansion of digital signs across the Sydney Trains landholding, both metropolitan and regional. We have also taken over the regional area, which extends to Newcastle, via Wollongong and towards Nowra.

Steve O’Connor says advertisers tend to buy from a portfolio of different outdoor formats.

“We are introducing a high quality digital portrait format,” he says. “Typically, outdoor roadside digital formats are normally landscape, but we have introduced a higher quality portrait format at some of the key locations around the center of the network and will provide a different advertising opportunity. ”

JCDecaux’s plans include 4.5mx 2.5m high-impact digital video screens suspended from walls in railway halls.

In Wynyard, these will be positioned above the York Street escalators. The existing digital portrait screens will be replaced by nearly 300 new 75-inch screens.

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