Enmity to Outdoor Digital Signage

Posted by: Richard Williams | Posted on: | 0 Comments

Since digital signage first began emerging out of home — after the development of flat screen television s— its rise has been fairly dramatic with screens now a common sight in indoor locations like shopping malls and retail parks, but also outside, with many of the outdoor billboards, posters and signs now converted to Outdoor Digital Signage.

As pointed out by Barnaby Page’s blog last week, in relation to the recent ban in China of western products being advertised by Dooh , one unexpected consequence of the rise of outdoor digital signageis that “it seems to attract more enmity than its counterparts, from both consumers and governments”.

No other advertising medium seems to attract such hostility as digital signage. While the recent Chinese ban on Dooh products is perhaps more to prevent western culture usurping the Chinese way of life, other locations have taken a hard line on all outdoor Dooh.

In the USA several states and counties have placed severe restrictions on outdoor digital signage. From moratoriums, limits on the number of signs, to outright bans, outdoor digital signage has received a hard time in the states.

Critics cite a couple of reasons for their dislike of outdoor digital signage. Firstly, groups like Scenic America suggest that outdoor digital billboards are unsightly and are ruining the natural aesthetics of the countryside. Secondly, it is argued that digital billboards are a hazard to drivers, causing a distraction and leading to automobile accidents.

Both of these arguments, however, are flawed, with many in the Dooh industry believing the restrictions placed on outdoor digital signage is unfounded. Firstly, outdoor digital signage is no more unattractive than traditional highway signage. Billboards along major highways are part-and-parcel of the American driving experience and as static billboards rip, fade and can look shabby after being up for even short periods of time, but digital signage always looks modern and new.

Secondly, there is no evidence to suggest that outdoor digital signage poses anymore of a distraction than other road signage. Highways are full of information appealing for attention from distances to towns and cities, route information and businesses that line the road, and outdoor digital signage is no more or no less distracting.

In Europe, huge billboards are erected along, not only major highways, but beside high speed motorways in some of the most heavily used stretches of road around cities like London, and yet no reported increase in accidents has ever been reported.

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