Our year of growth – thoughts from our CEO

Exactly a year ago I was celebrating big news for Alight Media, the business my partner Dave Huckerby and I had co-founded in 2018. We had won our second major OOH 6 sheet contract and entered the digital billboard market.

Setting up a business is, as many people know, akin to jumping off a cliff with no certainty where you’ll land. That’s exactly how Dave and I felt: we had a plan – but you never know! Soon we experienced the exhilarating rush of winning our first contract – installing 6 sheets in Bournemouth. Our Chief Revenue Officer Ged Glover joined us early on, and I’ll always be grateful for the belief and support from that small team.

Then came August last year – winning the South Yorkshire bus shelter 6 sheet contract and acquiring our first D48s and a group of fantastic additional employees through a buyout.

After a period of very hard work integrating our new team members into the Alight family and kicking on with the business of growth and delivering on promises to clients, we hit the shock and uncertainty everyone shared in a global pandemic and lockdown.

2020 will no doubt go down in history as an extraordinary year in every sense of the word, but from my personal perspective I want to take a moment to pause and review the last twelve months.

As I discussed at our recent Mediatel Future of OOH panel, I do believe that the current crisis gives a moment of pause for us all to choose how we want to build our businesses. It has provided plenty of reflection time and, if we choose, we can use it as a point to define our future behaviour. I’m proud that we have kept our focus, continuing to invest and build to deliver our vision of creating a network that stands out, adds incremental coverage to national plans and offers advertisers the true power of outdoor everywhere. We have made great progress, with growth across formats including our D48 portfolio, and only a couple of weeks ago were able to celebrate two more further pieces of good news – winning the 6 sheet contract for Telford and Wrekin and completing the build of our classic 6 sheet portfolio in South Yorkshire.

We now have an audience of 9.2 million adults each fortnight and a portfolio that already covers the South West region and Bournemouth town centre, plus a growing national D48 offering, as well as the expansions in Telford and South Yorkshire.

Most importantly, we have a team who continue to go above and beyond, for each other, for our clients and for the business. We have continued to provide proof-points of our commitment to build the company we always promised, and I’d like to thank every one of the team, as well as our clients, partners and supporters.

As I head off for a short holiday in rural Somerset, I’m filled with hope and belief for the rest of 2020 and beyond. I know that the experiences we’ve had as a business this year will deliver lessons that will guide us well into the decade, keeping focused on our vision, beliefs, people, partners and clients. My most important lesson? If you’re going cliff-jumping, find the right companions.

Matthew Dearden, Co-Founder and CEO, Alight Media

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