JC Decaux to invest £20m in European digital roadside billboards

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

It’s been reported in a couple of places that JC Decaux are to invest £20m in European digital roadside billboards.

When you think that THE world’s largest media sellers are Clear Channel Outdoor, JC Decaux, Lamar and CBS Outdoor any ‘digital’ announcement to do with JC Decaux is worth making note of.

In 2008 I understand that JC Decaux will be installing 20 (twenty) 6m x 3m LED’s in the UK. This seems to be part of a broader group utilisation of LED.

Intellagencia.com: JCDecaux has unveiled a raft of upgrades to its digital offerings, including the replacement of 20 PrimeTime 48-sheets with LED screens. As part of the £20m investment, JCDecaux will introduce branding badges to its Premiere portfolio, which sees the advertiser’s name lit up in a box beneath the main billboard, as well as improvements to the M4 Torch, which will now be made up of two LED screens.

Twenty might NOT seem like a lot until you realise that their are currently less than 34 really large digital billboards in the UK at present (Titan Transvision and Clear Channel having the most of course but with Ocean Outdoor, City Gateway Media and PosterPlus making up the rest).

It’s a different story completely in the US with Lamar standing out as the most aggressive traditional to digital billboard ‘migrator’.

Contributing to Lamar’s rapid deployment of digital boards is Lamar’s decision not to test and wait for new technology but to embrace the existing dominant light emitting diode (LED) technology – I personally think this is a mistake but at least they have put a stake in the ground, stuck with it and forced through a (steady) migration.

This decision contribute to Lamar’s swift digital rollout, a run rate of roughly 30 boards per month.

Lamar themselves are aiming for 1,000 digital billboards over the next two to three years.

Whilst rapid, this still represents a small percentage of Lamar’s total displays of 151,000 traditional billboards / ‘display faces’.

Clear Channel on the other hand have taken a much more conservative approach to the launch of Digital Outdoor in the US.

Out of their existing 144,000 traditional billboards, the following is the likely digital conversion: –

  • 2006 22
  • 2007 47
  • 2008 81
  • 2009 140
  • 2010 231

The two German Outdoor Advertisers Stroer and Wall AG are still my bet for doing the most with Digital ‘display faces’ in 2008 across Europe – especially the emerging markets.

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