James Rodham’s ‘My Week in Media’

In April, Paul Sambrook, Marketing Director at Rapport, wrote a blog about his working week. Today, James Rodham, Director of Investment, shares his experience.

MONDAY

The trains are all over the place this morning and my usual 7.11am from Ashford, Surrey, to Waterloo is cancelled. Instead, I get the slow train and change at Richmond. Not ideal, but it does give me a chance to check out some of our rail HD48 sheets which are looking smart, as always.

Monday starts with our weekly company status, where we catch up on last week’s business, and what’s going to happen in the week ahead. We had a busy week in the short term market last week; a couple of advertisers took advantage of a slower market in June. Short term business is really beneficial to us as it’s often not forecasted, so can make a big difference in a softer market. It’s then over to the operations team to ensure posters are printed and delivered on time. They never let us down, and they make me decent tea..! 

I was on holiday on Friday so rest of the day is spent catching up on emails which I forced myself to ignore over the weekend. My commute home is taken up with my new favourite music app, Deezer, which was recommended to me by fellow music lover and colleague, Paul McCormack.

TUESDAY

Today is programmatic buying day at Rapport towers. I seem to hear the word ‘programmatic’ every other sentence at the moment! Firstly, I meet with Cadreon; a sister company of ours from within the IPG Group who are essentially Mediabrands’ trading desk and programmatic arm. They recently ran a successful live trial on OOH in Australia, and we discuss how programmatic can move into the UK market. Playing devil’s advocate, I point out all the hurdles they may face and we broadly agree it will be years not months until it is a real prospect in UK OOH. However, it is coming and we need to be on the front foot when the change happens.

In the afternoon I meet with Alex Hollingdale and Brett Haylock from Clear Channel who have recently been running trials in the programmatic space. We discuss the same hurdles that I tackled earlier this morning, but from a media owner perspective. All the major media owners are addressing programmatic opportunities but are coming at it from different angles and are at different stages in the journey. Interesting times ahead.

Home tonight for a session at the driving range. I always have a detour when I’m out and about in the car, so I can have a look at our current campaigns that are up on the street. When in New Malden I take a look at the Sky Holding panel showing David Beckham on JCDecaux’s A3 Finn Mega 48 sheet. Whilst data and tools such as Route are becoming more and more important in honing our planning and buying, we all need to remember what a good poster site looks like in the ground, and this is no exception. It is a quality site.

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday kicks off with a breakfast session at MediaCom with Andrew Mortimer, Sky’s Director of Brand & Media. It’s a catch up session about current investment, however, we quickly move on to 2015 which is positive but reminds me that we’re half way through the year already!

Back at base I then meet with Daemon Brown from the taxi media owner, Verifone Media. Verifone are soon going to be launching their digital taxi top screens which are new to the UK and have recently been approved by TfL. We discuss trading models and pricing and target advertisers for the launch phase. The chat continues over lunch with Daemon and Becky Clegg, who joins us at Roka, where the inevitable programmatic word gets raised. The difference is this time I brought it up – it was a trap I set so Daemon would talk and I could eat all the lamb cutlets without him noticing. It didn’t work.

Then I’m back to HQ for a catch up with the team before meeting an old friend; Dave English. Dave used to work as a buyer before setting up a bill posting company. It’s always good to keep in touch with colleagues on the logistical side of the business. Printing, posting and poster despatch are such important parts of our industry, and I like to keep up to speed with what’s going on behind the scenes. Dave also likes to keep abreast of the buying since he left that side of the business, and as we both travel home from Waterloo, I promise to show him JCDecaux’s Waterloo Motion screen. He twists my arm into having a drink in the new sports bar overlooking the screen and I reluctantly oblige.

THURSDAY

Thursday starts with an internal management meeting; we cover off our half year position and forecasts for the rest of the year and 2015, along with other topics of the day. It’s an important year at Rapport following significant change towards the end of 2013 and we also discuss our recent hiring of Craig Barber, Head of Emerging Media, and Ross Wilson, Head of Insight. Both have hit the ground running. It’s around an hour until someone raises programmatic buying. They are duly shot.

I jump straight into a half year meeting with Spencer Berwin and Dave McAvoy from JCDecaux. It’s a huge year of investment for JCD across roadside, mall, rail and Tesco POS and this is set to continue into 2015. It’s always amazing to see the investment that goes into OOH in terms of estate and systems, and JCDecaux have done both this year. And yes, you guessed it, we also discuss their stance on programmatic trading.

Lunch is a 12 inch subway at my desk. It’s the England game tonight so need to take on some stodge. I head over to Victoria to meet the guys from KBH who have kindly taken us to a dinner and match screening. Matt Le Tissier’s stint on stage with Paul Merson definitely outshone the game. It’s the last train home for me, I’ve learnt how to get this done on autopilot these days.

FRIDAY

Mild hangover cleared, it’s into the office for a full morning of bookings. Even though OOH books at any time during the week these days, there’s still a certain buzz about a busy Friday. We have been waiting on a new spender to approve some big budgets for the second half of the year, and it’s always satisfying when it finally comes off.

A quick pint with the team before heading back to the office to work on a trading update deck for Suzuki which is planned for next week. We have worked directly with Suzuki for 5 years or so, and they are starting to engage with the medium in different and interesting ways…I’m sure I’ll find space for a slide commenting on programmatic trading.

James Rodham, Director of Investment

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