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Digital OOH Firms Unite

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NEW YORK Bringing some much-needed consolidation to the fragmented digital out-of-home industry, Fuelcast, a network at the gas pump, and Bhootan, a network at retail locations, have merged to form Outcast. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Outcast offers advertisers digital out-of-home services across a variety of venues: Fuelcast's 5,500 screens at gas pumps in eight U.S. markets plus Toronto; and Bhootan's 500 screens at retailers such as Walgreens, Sears, Kmart, Albertsons, Stop N' Shop and fast-food establishments including Carl's Jr., and McDonald's. While Fuelcast has more screens, Bhootan offers advertisers more markets.

Combined, Outcast's networks offer advertisers a monthly reach of over 25 million consumers in more than 900 locations.

Digital OOH is growing at a double-digit rate, but because it's a highly fragmented business with hundreds of companies, buying advertising can add up to a major migraine.

Matthew Stoudt, the co-founder and CEO of Bhootan who will become CEO of Outcast, said: "Our advertisers were looking to work with larger companies that offer a more expansive network and broader reach. Hopefully, we're starting some consolidation in the marketplace."

Outcast's top management will also include John McLean, CEO of Fuelcast, as chairman; and Nathan Gill, co-founder and president of Bhootan, as chief media officer.