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Smart new screens for growing North East digi business

A fast-growing outdoor advertising business is set for expansion after securing three significant new sites in short succession. 

Smart Outdoor - which provides dynamic, digital advertising screens that reach millions of people every week - has bagged 10 high-impact display sites across the North East since its launch just eight months ago, and has added to its reach with three prominent new sites added to its number in the last month.

Prestigious new display boards – each 200sq ft in size – have been installed both sides of the Tyne Tunnel, as well as new displays at sites close to the Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland and the Utilita Arena in Newcastle.

Smart Outdoor, which is the brainchild of Livingston-born entrepreneur Mark Catterall, moved to Sunderland’s Evolve Business Centre in April and has since grown rapidly, employing 12 members of staff.  It has significant expansion plans, having increased its capacity with the new screens and additional members of staff.

The business recently brought on board two new hires, Mark Clancey as a commercial director and Eve Shannon who is the business’ marketing manager.  The two new roles will help drive the company’s growth, as well as servicing existing client accounts. 

Mark Clancey has a background in radio, having left his role as commercial director of Metro and TFM to take up his new position at Smart Outdoor.  He believes that the company has an opportunity to continue its rapid growth, having secured its new high-profile sites.

He said: “As we move into a digital world, out of home advertising – that can be adapted at a minute’s notice - becomes more and more interesting.  Our screens are in fantastic locations, reaching many thousands of people every day, and our new sites will only serve to extend our impact in the North East. 

“It’s a really exciting time to have joined Smart Outdoor, and I think there is a huge opportunity to capitalise on the growth in out of home media spend, as more and more firms see the value in reaching people as they go about their daily lives.”

Eve will work with Mark, as well as taking a lead on Smart Outdoor’s own profile-raising.

MD Mark Catterall, who worked in outdoor advertising for almost 15 years before launching Smart Outdoor, said: “We are absolutely delighted with our new sites, which are iconic gateways to the areas they serve.  To have these added to our portfolio is a real feather in our cap, but they’re really just the start. 

“We are looking to invest in more sites that will allow us to double within a year, and advance our aim to become the largest and most dominant player in the North East by this time next year.  This region is central to our expansion plans – it’s home and we believe it presents a really strong opportunity for advertisers. 

“We want to ensure that this is an area that is well-served by outdoor media and create enough opportunities for advertisers to be able to talk to a consumer throughout their day – on the road in the morning, in the city at lunchtime, on main arterial routes after work and at the gym on an evening.”

Smart Outdoor has been supported by Sunderland City Council’s business investment team since relocating to the city, assisting Mark with the move to Evolve and providing ongoing support as the company has continued to grow.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Smart Outdoor is yet another fantastic success story for the city’s creative and digital sector.

“Sunderland City Council takes great pride in supporting businesses that choose to invest in our great city and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to support Mark and the Smart Outdoor team throughout their journey.  I’m sure that, judging by the stellar growth they’ve reported so far, they’ll continue to expand and will continue to invest in the city.”

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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