Outdoor ads to come under scrutiny of OFT

THE Office of Fair Trading (OFT) will launch an investigation into outdoor advertising after players in the sector raised concerns about its fairness.

The OFT will now examine whether the industry offers fair value for buyers and consumers.

Heather Clayton, senior director of infrastructure at the OFT said: “The cost of all forms of advertising is reflected in the price consumers pay for goods and services.

“This market study into outdoor advertising will take a look at whether the market works well in terms of offering firms and local authorities deals that are fair, competitive and transparent.”

The watchdog said the sector was highly concentrated in terms of specialist buyers and outdoor media owners. It will study the effect of commissions payments and whether there are clauses in contracts with local authorities that prevented them from dealing with other outdoor media owners or advertisers, to the detriment of the tax payers who fund the authorities.

The OFT expects to complete the study by the end of this year. Major outdoor advertisers include JC Decaux, CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel Outdoor.