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Clear Channel Outdoor launches ‘Connect,’ the first global out-of-home mobile interactive advertising platform

Platform will initially reach 175 million consumers monthly across 23 countries on 5 continents – creating the largest network of its kind

75,000 sites worldwide will be equipped with NFC, QR code and/or SMS capabilities

San Francisco and Washington, D.C. are first U.S. markets to be launched, with more to follow

New York, NY -- In a world first, Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO), the leading innovator in out-of-home advertising, announced today that it is rolling out Connect, its global interactive mobile advertising platform, representing a major development in the evolution of out-of-home media worldwide – and generating more opportunities for consumers and brands to connect. Connect creates seamless integration between out-of-home and mobile, driving deeper brand engagement with consumers when they are out and about.

With Connect, advertising panels on CCO’s pedestrian-accessible sites across the globe will be turned into mobile launch pads, enabling consumers to access interactive content from advertisers via their smartphones.

By June 2014, CCO will:

Create a mobile network reaching 175 million consumers monthly across 23 countries on 5  continents;Equip 75,000 outdoor sites wiEquip 75,000 outdoor sites with Connect tags enabled for Near Field Communication (NFC), QR code, and in Latin America, SMS capabilities; andOffer marketers the biggest out-of-home/mobile interactive platform from any media owner and the only one with a global scale.

William Eccleshare, CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor, said, “We have made this investment because all our intelligence tells us this is what consumers want, to be able to engage with brands individually, immediately and effectively. We are bridging the online and offline worlds by combining our outstanding audience reach with personal engagement through mobile devices.  The global rollout of Connect accelerates the metamorphosis of out-of-home advertising from being the oldest form of advertising to the most modern and creative.”

He added, “At Clear Channel Outdoor, we take pride in being a company of advertising firsts. We were the first to introduce the public bike scheme; the first to deliver an outdoor digital street furniture network; and the first to run a facial recognition campaign. We have done it once again with Connect as we are the first to roll out this interactive mobile platform on such an international scale.”

The Connect tags are permanently attached to digital or static panels on pedestrian-accessible sites with heavy footfall and long dwell-time, such as street furniture – including bus shelters and similar street-level advertising structures – shopping malls, airports and at other points-of-sale. 

Consumers simply tap or scan their smartphone over Connect’s NFC tag or QR code to instantly open a gateway to an online brand experience. In CCO’s Latin American markets, the platform will also run with the addition of SMS capability; a tailored SMS code will appear on the outdoor advert.
Advertisers can offer a range of consumer benefits which can be grouped into 4 main categories:

Information – search, maps, location-relevant, utility Shopping – transactional, discounts / couponingEntertainment – gaming, video, photos, apps Community – social media, text / IM, sharing

Advertisers and planners will also benefit from the rich data and metrics captured by Connect, including date, time, location, conversion of click-thru’s, and even which kinds of devices were used - all allowing for campaign optimization, performance review and delivery of ROI.

Connect is another important leap in our mission to facilitate closer connections between brands  and consumers through enhanced outdoor and mobile capabilities,” said Suzanne Grimes, President and Chief Operating Officer, Clear Channel Outdoor – North America.  “With Connect, we offer advertisers easier and more nimble access to mobile-interactive campaigns as they no longer need to spend time creating NFC tags or QR codes. Via our preinstalled tags, we seamlessly direct consumers to advertisers’ mobile optimized content.”   

“With the rise of social media, consumers increasingly expect to be involved in advertising campaigns and to have relationships with brands, yet they often reject advertising interruptions in other mediums.  Connect presents the opportunity to target consumers on-the-go, when they are receptive to messages and can be delighted by timely, relevant and tailored invitations  to engage,” added Grimes.
CCO will be showcasing Connect and its full capabilities at the forthcoming Festival of Media Global event (April 6-8) in Rome, where Clear Channel Communications’ CEO Bob Pittman, will also be one of the event’s key speakers.

CCO first launched its mobile platform in the UK with a nationwide rollout in 2013 that included 10,000 mobile-enabled sites in London and Edinburgh.  CCO’s mobile platform has since been launched in Belgium, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Singapore.  The global roll-out of Connect will see additional platforms planned for completion by June 2014 in Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA.

Notes to Editors:

CCO’s mobile platform will be available in the following countries:

Country                    Launch date

Singapore           Already launched

New Zealand           June 2014

Belgium           Already launched
Denmark           June 2014
Estonia           May 2014
Finland           Already launched
France           May 2014
Italy           May 2014
Ireland           Already launched
Latvia           May 2014
Lithuania           May 2014
Netherlands           Already launched
Norway           May 2014
Poland           May 2014
Spain           May 2014
Sweden           May 2014
Switzerland           May 2014
Turkey           June 2014
UK           Already launched – adding 10,000 new sites

Latin America
Brazil           June 2014
Mexico           June 2014
Peru           June 2014

North America
USA           June 2014

Fast Facts:

Mobile usage:
By 2017, it is expected that the total number of smartphone subscribers worldwide will be almost 4 billion (from 3.6 billion in 2014) - equivalent to 80% of the global adult population [Source: Cisco 2014 Mobile VNI Study]It is estimated the percentage of the U.S. population using smartphones will rise to 64.3%, in 2017, up from 45.7% at the end of 2013. [Source: eMarketer]Mobile devices accounted for 55% of Internet usage in the U.S. in January. [Source: comScore]The total value of global mobile payments predicted by 2017 is $13 trillion. [Source: A.T. Kearney]U.S. mobile consumers making proximity mobile payments are expected to reach 54.1 million in 2017, as compared to 10.9 million in 2013. [Source: eMarketer]
NFC & QR technology:
416 million smartphones with NFC will be shipped in 2014 as compared to 120 million in 2012; nine out of the top 10 smartphone manufacturers now produce NFC enabled handsets. [Source: IHS Technology]31% of U.S. smartphone owners have scanned a QR code or texted to get more information on a special in-store deal; 40% of these QR code users claimed that they made purchases they hadn’t planned as a result of the information they received. [Source: Vibes]

Press contacts
David Grabert
Clear Channel Outdoor
(212) 812-0089

David Press
(917) 721-7046

Hilary Lefevre
(212) 300-4929
About Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc.
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc., (NYSE: CCO) is one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies, with more than 750,000 displays in over 40 countries across five continents, including 48 of the 50 largest markets in the United States. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings offers many types of displays across its global platform to meet the advertising needs of its customers. This includes a growing digital platform that now offers over 950 digital billboards across 37 U.S. markets. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings’ International segment operates in nearly 30 countries across Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America in a wide variety of formats.