Airport Partners and Eye UK merge to become the UK’s largest airport advertising company

EYE Out of Home_logoAirport Partners, the regional airport advertising specialist purchased Eye UK from the Australian TV broadcaster, Ten Network Holdings Limited. The deal makes them the largest airport advertising company in the UK: representing 30 airports and channelling 100 million+ airport passengers.

Eye launched in the UK in 2006 with the Manchester Airport Group contract (that included Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports) and has, since then, significantly increased its portfolio to incorporate all of the advertising sites at London Gatwick, Stansted and Belfast International airports.

Airport Partners was also formed in 2006 by Andrew Walker, founder of Adbus Transport Advertising, after he sold its sizable bus advertising division. The organisation originally represented just two regional airports: Leeds Bradford and Newcastle. Though its portfolio increased considerably over the subsequent six years and now encompasses over 20 airports, including Bristol, Exeter, Inverness, Dundee, Liverpool, Southampton, Blackpool and City of Derry airports.

Andrew Walker, CEO of Airport Partners, comments “Eye has an excellent reputation, innovative ‘state of the art’ products and, importantly, a really great team. The combination of our two companies will create a distinctly different and commanding player within the airport advertising world. We are acquiring Eye but in every other sense our relationship is more like a merger because there aren’t many overlaps in our respective business models.

Both companies and their respective airports will benefit from the increased impetus and sales that the other will bring. Eye has a robust London and national presence, an excellent digital offering and in-house marketing; whilst Airport Partners has a very strong regional sales presence, is very customer-led and has survived the recent climate by steadily growing this market.”

Andrew continues “For the next six months our companies will largely operate separately. Following this period, the two will merge, rebrand and be set up to maximise sales both regional and nationally, which will bring real benefit to the airports we represent and brands wishing to advertise.

Airport advertising is a unique and valuable media as it delivers a captive audience with substantial dwell time and creates a customer that is receptive to messaging and has a desire to spend. Airport retail spend surpasses that of the high-street and air traffic is expected to double in the next 20 years. All of this, in addition to our first-rate portfolio, leading edge technology and flexible buying models, creates the ideal platform for brands looking to engage customers.

Other than Andrew Walker, who will be CEO of both companies, there will be two senior directors within the newly formed entity.

Sarah Parkes Eye UKFirstly, Sarah Parkes, who has been appointed Managing Director. Sarah was Exec VP and General Manager of Eye, and previously Group Managing Director at CDS Global for 20 years. Andrew comments “Sarah has the vision, ability and dedication required to take our amalgamated company to significant growth.” Sarah adds “We are thrilled to be affiliating with such a complementary partner. It is an exciting era for airport advertising, and our ongoing investment in both talent and technology will ensure Eye is positioned to meet the ever evolving demands of the consumer and continues to invent the future of Out Of Home.”

Secondly, Mike Brennan, who will assume the role of Group Commercial Director of both Eye and Airport Partners. Mike was previously Regional Sales Director at CBS for ten years following six years with JC Decaux.  Andrew says “I’ve worked with Mike over the last two years since he successfully bought into another of our group companies, Community Partners. His energy and knowledge of increasing sales is first-rate and he is well respected in the Out Of Home industry.” Mike adds “There are a number of really exciting opportunities happening now and in the near future within the advertising and promotions world at airports. Media business’ focus is always on audience, demographic, message and growth potential. And the airport market supports and delivers on each.”

Source: Eye Out-of-Home