At the 2008 SID event IDTechEx learnt about Clear Channel's move to digital posters. Clear Channel is a $3.3 Billion company - the world's largest outdoor media company, owning a 40% market share. It owns approximately one million advertising panels worldwide. Clear Channel is moving its static displays to digital versions. So far, most of the digital displays it uses are LED types.
It has seen a significant increase in revenue in Cleveland, USA where it has installed seven LED panels - revenue was up almost nine times the year before. Advertisers can be much more targeted depending on the time of day and Clear Channel can now sell space to more companies, as opposed to keeping one poster up for a few weeks. By the end of the year Clear Channel will have installed 300 LED billboard displays, mostly in the US.
However, Clear Channel feel LED technology is not the best solution. It has a very high installation cost (structures need reinforcement to cope with the extra weight) and draws a lot of power. Clear Channel described their needs from the display technology as follows:
- Non emissive
- Low power
- Light weight
- Print like image - "coke red"
- Full motion not needed
- Life expectancy to reach an acceptable ROI
The company has recently been working with magink who have a technology that meets many of their requirements (see our article on magink). Together they have already introduced some bill board displays in London, as shown above.
The biggest challenge to rolling out more digital displays is the regulatory environment, not the capital cost (even for LED versions). There are regulations concerning, for example, not having displays which can dazzle drivers, and permission is sometimes needed should they be distracting to residents. Clear Channel described this as the limiting factor to roll out, but expect that non emissive displays will speed the process up as they overcome some of these challenges that LED versions have.
For more attend the IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA event in San Jose, where these topics will be covered.