Digital Billboard Advertising cokedb.jpg

Table of Contents:

  1. Emerging Medium (Overview of Digital Billboard Advertising and target demographics)
  2. Cost of Construction (size, weight and cost to construct)
  3. Major Players (operating scale and influential companies)
  4. Arbitron Case Study and Impact of Digital Billboard Advertising (case study overview, research statistics and findings)
  5. Strengths of Digital Billboards (flexibility and immediacy)
  6. Drawbacks of Digital Billboards (excluvisity, cost and aesthetics)
  7. Times Square Domination (newly formed media network, reach and frequency)
  8. Works Citednycdb.jpg

Emerging Medium

Digital billboards are roadside displays that alternate advertising messages approximately every 8-10 seconds with approximately 6-8 advertisers utilizing the same location. The use of these contemporary billboards has recently emerged as a more dynamic approach to reaching mobile demographics (middle-aged, working consumers) in comparison to traditional static displays ("Digital billboards: outdoor," 2009).

Cost of Construction

This new digital technology matches the out-dated, static billboard in parameter (14-by-48 feet); however, it weighs seven times the amount of the traditional billboard at an average of 3,500 pounds. Digital billboards are also very expensive to construct at $450,000, down from $1 million four years ago (Ahrens 2007).

Major Players

The digital billboard industry operates on a large scale, reportedly taking in $3.14 billion in 2002 and growing at 9% annually, eventually reaching $6.8 billion by January of next year (Bond 2008). This industry is primarily led by major players including: CCO, CBS Outdoor and Lamar Advertising each possessing 20.7%, 18.4% and 17.3% market share, respectively ("Billboard and Outdoor," 2009).

Expected Growth and Benefits of Digital Billboard Advertising

Nationwide, there are an estimated 450,000 billboards, a small portion of these are digital billboards; growth is expected to increase several hundred in the near future ("Digital billboards: outdoor," 2009).The most significant aspect of this technology is that it gives the advertiser the ability to instantly change and update a network of billboards from one spot. This medium is most beneficial to advertisers who wish to communicate a concise message that will increase name recognition and brand awareness through high frequency and constant exposure (Ahrens 2007).This digital technology has also been implemented to increase the safety and security of communities by the keeping society informed of issues that pertain to them, including: breaking news headlines, weather reports and missing children updates ("Digital billboards: outdoor," 2009).

arbitron.gifArbitron Case Study and Impact of Digital Billboard Advertising

In late 2007, Arbitron Inc. conducted a case study in Cleveland, Ohio on Digital Billboards and their influence on surrounding consumers. The research was gathered by random digit dial interviews between the dates of November 27th and December 3rd. To qualify for the research, participants had to be at least 18 years of age, commute daily by either car, truck, bus or taxi on either of the major interstates (I-77, I-90 or I-480) 30 days prior to the surveying time frame (Williams 2008). The impact of digital billboard advertising as an emerging medium was very apparent in the Arbitron research findings:

· 53% of Cleveland highway travelers had noticed digital billboards in the past month
· Nine out of tendigital billboard viewers notice the advertising at least some, most or each time they pass a billboard
· A great majority of viewers reported that they thought the digital billboards were both attractiveand beneficial to the community
· A majority of the viewersreported that digital billboards: are a cool way to advertise, have current and relevant information, provide useful information, and are a good way to learn about new products.
· Nearly one in five viewers discussed an ad seen on a digital billboard with other people (Williams 2008).

From the Arbitron report, it is evident that in this location (and presumably in other similar demographic locations) digital billboards are extremely effective in reaching mobile targets and instilling a concise, direct message to create instant impressions on the target market.

Strengths of Digital Billboards

There are several strengths to be noted of the Digital Billboard: Flexibility for instance-unlike traditional vinyl billboards, digital billboards allow the advertiser to schedule ads to run at several different times throughout the day rather than deciding on a single ad for a single venue. In addition, with digital advertising, it is possible to immediately respond to market conditions- if an advertisement needs to be altered, it can be changed immediately, sent to the outdoor advertising company in email-form and then it can be scheduled to run instantly (Ahrens 2007).

Drawbacks of Digital Billboards

In contrast however, there are weaknesses as well. With advertisements in constant rotation, there is no exclusivity to a location; unfortunately, competition may be sharing the same billboard. Also, digital billboard rates can be more than two times the rate of a traditional billboard space; however, as cost to construct these new models decreases, availability will increase causing rates to diminish.

Environmentalist groups have also hindered the construction of Digital Billboards in communities that aim to protect the aesthetics of federally funded highways (Bachman 2009). In addition, these environmentalist groups are alleging that these digital billboards are a hazardous distraction to drivers. The Federal Highway Administration has allocated $150,000 to research the correlation between digital billboard distraction and motor vehicle accident rates (Ahrens 2007)

Times Square Domination tsd.jpg

A newly formed media network, Times Square Domination, located in New York City, will be able to combine numerous companys' advertisements across Times Square's most extravagant digital billboards. These billboards include: Clear Channel's Spectacolor HDsign, ABC SuperSign, the Nasdaq monitor and News Corporation's Astrovision sign. Times Square Domination is referred to as the nation's largest out-of home venue that reaches 565,000 peopleeach day, multiple times during commute. These advertisements will air in selected slots and work in conjunction with marketing, mobile messaging and contests (Bachman 2009).

Clear Channel Outdoor has also launched another network of digital billboards, this time, in Los Angeles, California. This will be the first time that a major newspaper (the Los Angeles Times) will pay for the daily news headlines. The three month campaign will consist of eight-second spots running on 10 digital displays more than 70,000 times per week (Bond 2008).

Additional Examples

New York Billboards_2

Clear Channel Digital Billboard in Venice, California

Bay Bridge LED Billboard

Big Coke on Nanjing Rd Shanghai CN

Works Cited:

Ahrens, F. (2007, May 3). Digital billboards that turn your head. Retrieved from
Bachman, K. (2009, September 24). Times square owners create ad network. Adweek.Com
Bachman, K. (2009, February 8). Billboard or blight. Retrieved from
Bond, P., & Reporter, T. H. (2008, March 5). Mixed messages: Billboards fuse old, new media. Adweek.Com
(2009). Billboard and Outdoor Advertising in the US: 54185. Ibisworld. Retrieved (2009, October 10) from
(2009). Digital billboards: outdoor advertising's glowing future. Retrieved from
Williams, D. (2008). Arbitron digital billboard report: cleveland case study. New York, New York: Arbitron Inc.