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Q&A with Clear Channel Outdoor's Cathy Muldowney



Carlin Jessop

Vistar sat down with Cathy Muldowney, SVP of Programmatic at Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO), to discuss the company's highly effective digital out-of-home inventory. Read the full Q&A to hear what she had to say:


About Clear Channel Outdoor:

Q: Please give an overview of CCO’s programmatic offering.

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A: Clear Channel Outdoor America’s nationwide programmatic solution for digital out-of-home (DOOH) reaches 58MM+ adults monthly through a variety of venue types. These real world screens drive reach and impact via viewable, brand-safe displays and, in some areas, video formats. We have the ability to activate real-time biddable digital out-of-home (OOH) through 25 DSPs, including Vistar Media.

Q: What types of digital screens does CCO have and where are they located?

A: Our bold, vibrant displays reach consumers in heavily trafficked areas for maximum brand exposure with 1,800+ outdoor units and 110 airport networks. Within these venue types, we have 26 roadside DMAs including all of the top 10, and 65+ airports, both commercial and private including JFK, LGA and EWR. The chart below gives an overview of our coverage across the U.S.
*Source: Geopath OOH Ratings, January 2019

Q: How is CCO’s programmatic platform connecting brands with consumers?

A: There are many ways in which our platform connects brands with consumers through:

  • Reaching audiences in all of the top 10 DMAs in a fully viewable and fraud-free way
  • Reaching consumers on their daily journeys – whether they’re driving, walking or flying
  • Prime inventory that’s always brand-safe
  • Dynamic creative capabilities for PMPs
  • Efficient, scalable, unskippable campaigns that match digital media prowess

Q: What value does CCO’s programmatic network deliver to advertisers?

A: Our programmatic solution is measurable, delivers powerful advertising at scale to brands, and is available via DSPs, like Vistar, which are already leveraged by buyers for their digital OOH campaigns. If a brand is looking at dayparting, desiring to make real-time campaign adjustments or needing a self-serve buying option, programmatic digital OOH should be considered as the viable solution.

Q: What do you wish more digital buyers knew about out-of-home?

A: I’m still surprised to hear advertisers and buyers say they weren’t aware of the ease, flexibility and efficiencies of buying programmatic OOH. Simply put, programmatic DOOH offers up the ability to purchase the impressions that matter most, and, in the moments that matter.

Q: What campaign verticals are your top performers? Any examples of successful campaigns?

A: Brands ranging from CPG, QSR, Auto and Entertainment, among others, are all seeing successes with programmatic DOOH. Learn how Twitch's award-winning pDOOH campaign delivered online engagement for the brand 



Q: How do you see digital out-of-home evolving over the next year?

A: We’re seeing savvy advertisers employ programmatic OOH to nimbly adapt to travel pattern and supply chain changes, and to double-down where they’re seeing success against audience outcomes. Programmatic, in addition to direct OOH buying, is also coming to the forefront. Brands are using direct to establish a foundation of must-have OOH units and a baseline of reach/frequency, then adding a programmatic overlay that provides a layer for heavy up and optimization. The fact that pDOOH is now available in effectively all major omnichannel DSPs has made its proposition even more compelling – with a few additional steps in a DSP’s workflow, a high reach plus impact channel can easily be bolted on to an advertiser’s omnichannel media mix. As those omnichannel DSPs further productize their planning, targeting and measurement capabilities this year, we’d expect this to unlock even more test opportunities that give pDOOH a chance to demonstrate value for brands.

Q: How do you predict travel will change in the coming years?

A: While it’s impossible to predict what happens next in our world, the data show today that consumers have been out and about in droves and traveling most roadways at pre-pandemic levels. Thus, our displays are there to meet them along their journeys. 


Air travel also continues to improve with more and more leisure and business travelers moving throughout airports. Recent single-day reports from TSA illustrate that air travel is at, or near, pre-pandemic levels, offering brands a ripe environment to engage with business and leisure consumers. Moreover, recent reports suggest that the increase in hybrid and virtual work across the corporate world could bode well for the future of business travel as there will be a greater need to travel to the office for periodic meetings with teams or clients. 62% of Business Travelers say they personally expect to travel more this year than in 2021 (Source: Wakefield Research | SAP Concur) and approximately half of Millennials and Gen Z are likely to travel internationally or already have an international trip booked for 2022 (Source: Expedia Group Traveler Index 2022 Outlook).

Q: What do the latest movement patterns across roadside tell us about what’s ahead in 2022?

A: What we know is that travel patterns, behaviors and consumer migration continue to change. That’s where our solutions really benefit a buyer, as we can offer them a greater understanding of audiences passing by our digital displays and they can then maximize and optimize their campaigns.

Our Partnership:

Q: How long has CCO been working with Vistar?

A: We’ve been working with Vistar almost since the beginning of our programmatic journey, dating back to 2016.

Q: Why did CCO choose Vistar as a partner?

A: Vistar is a best-in-class partner. They’ve built trust amongst buyers throughout the media industry through their business practices and their commitment to excellence. We also have a mutual drive to open up the digital OOH buying ecosystem to more and more buyers.

Q: What has been Vistar’s most valuable contribution to your business?

A: Vistar was the first OOH ad tech platform in the US and the first open exchange and has built up a rich, scaled ecosystem of buyers and sellers, DSPs and media owners. Vistar has robust data capabilities, along with a sophisticated SSP that continues to iterate and help drive business forward. Lastly, they’ve continued to have a deep focus on the client and great sales partnership across all of our teams.

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