Outdoor Digital Signage – blight or boon?

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

Since the emergence of the digital out of home (Dooh) industry, it was inevitable that these flexible and effective advertising mediums were taken outside. Outdoor digital signage is now one of the fastest growing sectors of the Dooh market.

The reason for such a surge in the outdoor market is the effectiveness outdoor digital signage is in cost effective advertising and the many advantages it holds over other outdoor media.

However, the surge of interest in outdoor screens is not without controversy with many calls in the USA for curbs into the use of outdoor displays, citing numerous reasons:

• Light pollution
• Road safety
• Aesthetics

However, many of these arguments against the use of outdoor displays are unfounded. For instance, it is often claimed, particularly in the US, those outdoor digital displays and digital roadside billboards are unsightly, ruining the natural aesthetics.

However, when you consider that role billboards and outdoor signage has traditionally played, specifically in the states where billboard advertising is far more prevalent than in Europe, you have you compare like with like. Is a modern, stylish and clean looking screen worse for an areas aesthetics that a ripped, faded or torn billboard – that is often supported on a large rickety wooden scaffold?

Road safety is also cited as a concern as to why outdoor digital signage should be curbed, but this too is unfounded. There is no evidence that a moving image is any more or less distracting than a static poster. Content is the key to driver distraction and a two-dimensional poster is just as likely to cause distraction if the content as a moving display.

Light pollution is also a reason given as to why people object to these signs. However, most outdoor digital signage is either in city or town centres or along major trunk roads; both areas already high in light output. And in residential areas, outdoor signs can be programmed to be turned off at specific times.

The advantages of outdoor digital signage for both advertisers and consumers far outweighs the negative controversy which many in the outdoor digital signage industry put down to natural neo-Luddism over new technology.

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