Outdoor company XTD to “blow away” US market

Outdoor company XTD to “blow away” US market

21:44 15 February in Business, Cross Track Digital, Industry news, Metro Rail

By Rachael Micallef
February 13, 2015

Australia is used to big tech coming to its shores but less of a cliché is an Aussie taking on the internationals. But outdoor player XTD believes its screens will “blow away” the overseas market, and has already begun its pursuit of the US.

The company, which listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in December, installs billboard-sized LED screens in train stations. It primarily works with APN Outdoor and says it is the leading cross-track ad system in Australia.

So far, it has finished its rail install in Melbourne, with 32 screens and has started rolling out in Brisbane with 13 screens planned. The advertising system will be in four of Brisbane’s busiest stations.
Speaking to AdNews, XTD CEO Steve Wildisen said the two markets are opposites, with Melbourne’s rail network underground and Brisbane’s above, and will therefore act as a shop-front for the services the company can offer around the globe.

“It’s all about overseas – the Australian marketplace is pretty well signed up,” Wildisen said.
“There will be some screens going into Adelaide in Perth but our whole expansion is international.”
“We’re currently working heavily in North America and we’ve got 12 destinations that we’re working through right now and are heavily focused on.”

Subject to a joint venture going through, the company now plans to establish an office based out of New York, with its extensive rail network to be its focus. Wildisen said the US has around 15 large rail networks and that his company is chasing after about five of them.

“The rail market there is not perceived the same as what the Australian rail market is, so it gives us a bit of a foot in to be able to make it better,” Wildisen said.

“Their current advertising in rail is very static and relatively small format so it really does give us a big opportunity to get in there and make a big difference.”

When it comes to the take up of digital outdoor in Australia, Wildisen said the market is “miles behind” other countries, given restrictions and issues around roadside digital. But he said the lag has meant the quality coming out of Australia is better. He pointed to the ability of XTD’s screens to include audio, which makes it easier for media buyers as they can just use TV creative.

“We’re doing it smarter but we are behind,” Wildisen said. “The quality is significantly better than overseas markets because we’ve had time to see the mistakes everybody else has made.”
“When we went to the US in December they were blown away with what we have done and where we are heading. We’re showing them the way.”