Woolworths buys digital advertising company Shopper Media Group for $150m

Woolworths buys digital advertising company Shopper Media Group for $150m

Image via Shopper Media Group.

A subsidiary of Woolworths (ASX: WOW) has acquired digital out-of-home (OOH) media company Shopper Media Group for $150 million, adding 2,000 screens to its growing advertising network.

Announced today, WOW subsidiary Cartology will buy 100 per cent of Sydney-based Shopper for cash consideration - a move that will expand the reach of the retail giant’s media business into 400 more Australian shopping centres.

Co-founded in 2015 by CEO Ed Couche and the late Ben Walker, who passed away earlier this year aged 47, Shopper is a digital media firm that displays advertisements on screens in shopping centres nationally.

According to WOW CEO Brad Banducci, the acquisition - subject to competition watchdog approval - is an “important part of the evolution of Woolworths Group”.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to bring together the complementary capabilities of our retail media business, Cartology, with Shopper’s expertise in out of home media,” Banducci says.

Cartology managing director Mike Tyquin said the deal would accelerate the subsidiary’s goal in becoming the “trusted media partner of choice for brands and retailers”.

“Shopper’s screen network offers advertisers outstanding retail context and proximity. Shopper has invested heavily in technology, helping the business pave the way for innovation in retail out of home media,” Tyquin said.

“It will allow us to provide our clients more opportunities to reach their customers via seamless and targeted advertising solutions.”

Shopper CEO Couche said the opportunity to join Cartology was significant.

"This is an exciting development for Shopper, and we believe it will benefit our agencies, advertisers and property partners and the industry overall. Integrating with the Cartology offering will deliver enhanced data and advertising capabilities for Shopper’s existing partners," Couche said.

“Shopper has achieved great success thanks to the incredible work and dedication of our people and their desire to strive for growth and exceptional business outcomes for our partners. As a business, delivering innovation and the highest service standards has been at the heart to everything we do.

"This has been fundamental in our success and instrumental in preparing the business for this latest and significant step.”

The deal follows some major partnerships entered into by Shopper, including one with ISPT shopping centres that saw 230 new digital screens installed across a portfolio of 28 locations.

Last year, the company also got cosy with Lendlease (ASX: LLC) to provide agency sales representation for national advertising campaigns in three Western Australia shopping centres.

Prior to that, Shopper joined the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) and signed up to its ‘gold standard’ measurement metric MOVE (Measurement of Visibility and Exposure).

The new MOVE 2.0 system, launching next year, will measure the impact of digital signs and will cover all OOH formats, locations and environments nationally, with the capability to report on seasonal and monthly variation.

For WOW, the acquisition follows its proposed move to buy a controlling stake in MyDeal (ASX: MYD) for $218 million, enhancing its online marketplace offering in the process. The proposal, backed by MyDeal’s board including founder and CEO Sean Senvirtne, gave the company an equity value of $271.8 million.

Woolworths unveils first QLD customer fulfilment centre

In other Woolworths news, late last week the company unveiled a new multi-million dollar online customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in Rochedale, Brisbane - the company's first in Queensland.

Located approximately 18km from the Brisbane CBD, and servicing an area that spans from Beenleigh to Mt Ommaney, the 10,000sqm facility has been purpose-built to allow shoppers to handpick orders from a range of more than 25,000 products quickly, accurately and efficiently. 

"Online grocery shopping has been well and truly embraced by our Brisbane customers, many of whom are looking to reclaim time in their busy lives," Woolworths managing director of e-commerce Sally Copland said.

“Over the past three years, we’ve seen the demand for online groceries in Metro Brisbane more than triple, a trend we are actually seeing across the entire state of Queensland. To keep pace with this demand we’re investing in new online infrastructure to offer our customers more delivery windows and an even more reliable service.

“As well as strengthening our network capability, this new state-of-the-art facility is an important part of our ongoing commitment to investment and jobs in Queensland. We’re delighted to be welcoming hundreds of new team members to our new facility.”

Designed with sustainability front and centre, the facility features rainwater harvesting and smart metering to help monitor and reduce energy consumption. The facility also has more than 850 solar panels that will provide approximately 20 per cent of the site’s total annual electricity consumption. 

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