L.A. Times Digital Billboards

LA Times is using 10 billboards scattered around LA to play 8-seconds news spots for vehicles struck in traffic.  This is cool, yet scary at the same time.  Cool in that it’s a great way for the LA Times to remind potential customers of their existence and great for customers because in an emergency, important news can be relayed to them (although, this purpose is not stated in the article.  It seems their initial intent is to broasdcast human interest stories).  It’s scary because it distracts drivers from their primary task of driving.  I wonder whether these signs are timed to only broadcast during times of heavy traffic so as to avoid being the cause of traffic.  It could be doubly cool and scary if they integrate a small radio transmitter into the sign so you can hear sound from the billboard too.  They already have a still sign like this near LAX.  It broadcasts on an AM frequency.

I wonder who is providing the service for Clear Channel, or whether this is technology that was developed within Clear Channel.  Regardless, providing the infrastructure for this could be a good business.  I imagine the ultimate intent of who ever own this technology/business is to selling ads across their network of signs.  What about this on a smaller level?  Like providing digital signage for fast food restaurants?  or stores?  It would be nice to be able to quickly update menus, prices, and sale signage without having to print something new.  It would be nice to own the infrastructure behind it …  opportunity maybe?  I’ve seen a few small companies trying to do this.

As for the billboards themselves, I’m not sure if I would like this in my neck of the woods.  Fortunately, in SD, billboards are tightly controlled, so there aren’t very many of them around the county.  I personally like the regulation because I find billboards distracting and tacky.


L.A. Times Posts News to Digital Billboards

Daily to Target Commuters to Increase Awareness of Local News Content

Published: March 05, 2008

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