Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Clear Channel expanding their electronic billboard network

MediaPost notes that Clear Channel continues to expand their outdoor billboard network, installing digital billboards in four new markets: Akron and Columbus, Ohio, Memphis, Tennessee and Wichita, Kansas. This builds upon Clear Channel's existing installed base of six markets, which was their stated goal for the end of 2006. The additions bring Clear Channel's network to a total of 10 markets, all of which are near major, high-traffic road ways that can deliver the number of impressions needed to make the signs worthwhile. The company's new goal is to reach at least 100 digital billboards in approximately 20 markets by the end of 2007, suggesting that the screens to have a positive ROI in a pretty reasonable time frame since they're deploying more of them.

Given that the screens have cost an average of $500K apiece to purchase and install, the firm expects to spend at least $50 M in the immediate future to solidify their position as a leader in outdoor electronic billboards. Amazingly, they even plan to use the roadside displays as something of a tourist attraction at at least one location, in what's being described as one of the, "
most ambitious digital outdoor ad initiatives ever conceived" by MediaPost. A signage network in the downtown area of the pre-planned "city center" at Westgate, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, will be built and operated by Clear Channel Spectacolor, and will include 30 electronic signs of various sizes, including some that are 100 feet tall.

I guess we'll soon get to see if it really is possible to build a new Times Square in an arbitrary location and have it become an advertising mecca. Somehow I don't think that the folks in the Phoenix suburbs really understand what they're getting into from that end of the deal, but the Westgate facility is expected to generate a considerable amount of tourist shopping thanks to its half million square feet of retail space and sports arena.

Tags: Clear Channel, electronic billboards, digital billboards

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