Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Inc. surveys the electronic billboard landscape

The March issue of Inc. Magazine is running an article about the rise of roadside electronic billboards (word of caution: they quoted me in it, so you know it can't be completely unbiased ;) . There's not a whole lot that will be new to followers of the industry, but it makes a pretty compelling story to those who might be unfamiliar with some of the benefits that digital signage can bring to the out-of-home advertising world. For example, for advertisers:
They are bright and eye-catching and can convey multiple marketing messages at once. Marketers can arrange to have computerized ads change with much greater frequency than typical outdoor ads, timing their message to the season, the day of the week, and even the time of day. For instance, Edina Realty used its billboards to promote a number of time-sensitive sales and special offers. Through trial and error, Edina found that people were more responsive to ads for lakefront cabins toward the end of the workweek. And as the housing market headed south, Edina moved to bolster homebuyers' confidence by celebrating the number of homes sold locally in a given month. In all, the brokerage updated its billboard messages 31 times over the course of the year.
And of course, for network owners:
Magic Media, a Bangor, Pennsylvania, company that owns more than 10,000 billboards around the country, says its 20 digital signs alone contribute 10 percent of its $30 million in annual revenue. Each digital sign produces $14,000 a month in revenue, typically from multiple advertisers, compared with $1,000 to $2,000 for traditional billboards, which serve only one advertiser. "My view is that over time all signs, all billboards, will go digital," says Magic Media CEO Jimmy McAndrew.
Jimmy is perhaps the most evangelical person I've come across when talking about electronic billboards, though if they're helping him rake in hundreds of thousands of additional dollars in revenue each year, I can understand why. Still, the idea that maybe all billboards will someday be digital seems hard to comprehend.

But in a couple of decades, maybe it'll be hard for that generation to comprehend how there were once signs that didn't move.

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1 comment:

David Weinfeld said...

The Inc. article expounds on the fact that digital billboards offer a plethora of benefits over traditional out-of-home media. The transformation of an industry that has been around for decades is upon us.

As our highway landscape changes, metropilitan areas will see an influx of digital signage. Major cities,including New York and Las Vegas,have already announced the transition of some of their transit shelters to digital screens. The question now is what will the digital out-of-home age become and what will it look like years from now.