Incepted in 2010, Wildstone is the brainchild of Damian Cox. In its early days Wildstone was a consultancy services company focused on generating passive income for public and private sector landlords through billboards. During that time the business delivered some of the UK’s best-known and most valuable out-of-home (OOH) sites.
Later on, Damian and his team identified a market opportunity that would enable them to grow and flourish in the long run by reinvesting retained revenue and acquiring prospective sites directly. Fast forward to 2022, Wildstone own over 3,000 digital and classic OOH assets across Europe and acquire new sites every week.
Professional Landlords of Outdoor Media Infrastructure
What makes Wildstone stand out in the market is that they are the only professional billboard landlords in Europe with international scale. The company owns and manages the infrastructure to provide large numbers of billboards directly to media operators. “This benefits the media operators who know we are aligned in the long-term operation of our advertising sites, but this also benefits individual billboard landlords who can realise the capital value of their adverting site.” explains Jonathan Chandler, UK Managing Director, Wildstone.
Drivers of the Digital Revolution in OOH
Other than offering an infrastructure platform to media operators, Wildstone is playing a proactive role in the innovation of OOH. The leading outdoor media aggregator currently owns two-thirds of the large format digital sites in the UK and continues to convert hundreds of classic billboards to digital screens every year. The company uses next-generation LED screen technology for all its installations, delivering digital screens that are super lightweight and slim.
As a result, the advertisers get access to numerous benefits such as better customer targeting due to the flexibility of real-time, adaptive content; environmental improvement through reduced traffic and waste by removing the need for classic site posters installing traditional media, and providing a platform that is more accessible to local businesses. This platform of outdoor media infrastructure sites is leased on long term agreements to media owners such as Clear Channel, Global, JCDecaux and Alight Media, who in turn secure outdoor media sales with advertisers.
Positive Work Culture
Wildstone is powered by a team of talented acquisition, design and planning experts who have developed many of the highest rented roadside sites in the UK and Europe. Commenting on how Wildstone is trying to drive employee engagement, Jonathan reveals, “Our team remains highly motivated by the fast pace of growth, continued investment, and focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) opportunities and objectives.”
Through its ESG initiative, Wildstone aims to reduce its impact on the environment and support charitable causes that are important to its employees, such as Sea Change Project (a media advocacy organisation dedicated to exploring and documenting The Great African Seaforest) and Old Street Digital Canvas – in support of Hackney’s artistic community.
An Upward Growth Trajectory
The UK Managing Director of Wildstone, Jonathan, says that the company has grown exponentially through organic site acquisition and significant M&A activity over the last two years. In terms of growth and investments, Wildstone has also doubled in all measures; revenue, staffing, infrastructure asset base, international reach, and number of digital panels.
There is no doubt the OOH market was impacted by Covid however Wildstone’s estate is all roadside, as opposed to in retail or transport environments, and therefore their sites and media tenants were shielded from some of the worst of the market challenges.
Leadership Insights on European Digital OOH Advertising Market
According to Jonathan, the OOH advertising market continues to show resilience compared to other media sectors. This resilience of OOH is derived from the trusted kite-mark perception of billboard media in the eyes of consumers and investment and innovation in technology within the industry. It is mainly seen in the European markets, where digitisation of panels has been adopted most quickly and where brands and media agencies have responded with creative content that engages with the audience.
Jonathan further mentions that the audience penetration, impact, and trusted status of OOH were highly apparent during the recent COVID pandemic, where national and local governments across Europe used the channel to communicate vital public health messages.
Aiming for International Scalability in Future
Today, Wildstone has become a trusted name for its infrastructure and digitisation capabilities in the European OOH market. To achieve this position, the company invested in necessary strategic purchases in the Netherlands and secured some expansion opportunities in other European territories.
“Innovation in technology and driving the market forward through investment are at the heart of our business DNA in shaping the future of outdoor media infrastructure,” states Jonathan. In the coming years, Wildstone plans to grow through individual site deals across Europe and additional business transactions to maintain its upward growth trajectory.
For More Info: https://www.wildstone.co.uk/