Los Angeles officials are accusing Van Wagner Communications LLC – one of the area’s largest outdoor advertising companies – and nearly 20 property owners of displaying enormous ads known as supergraphics at over 15 locations throughout the city without a permit.
The civil lawsuit against the company alleges that some of the signs have been posted illegally for over eight years, and is seeking fines of $5,000 per day for each location.
According to the April 15th businessweek.com article, “LA officials file lawsuit against billboard firm”, Van Wagner said in a press release it was outraged by the lawsuit, and that the company had cooperated with the city in removing signs voluntarily.
This isn’t the first lawsuit addressing this issue. Last year, a businessman was incarcerated for allegedly ignoring an order to remove a supergraphic.
Bayonne Medical Center, located in Bayonne, New Jersey, unveiled two billboards today that post its emergency room wait times – the first hospital in the tri-state area to do so.
Daniel Kane, President and CEO of Bayonne Medical Center, was quoted as saying in a press release at businesswire.com: “With these [two] billboards, we have reaffirmed our promise to provide our patients and the residents of Hudson County with quality care without having to wait in an emergency room for hours. We’re dedicated to providing our patients the best possible care close to home.”
The billboards are located in Journal Square in Jersey City, and on the NJ Turnpike near the Holland Tunnel.
Digital out-of-home media had a banner year in 2010, according to research by Miller, Kaplan, Arase and released by the Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA).
According to the DPAA, total advertising revenues soared nearly 25%, or over $1 billion last year. This was a huge increase from 2009; DO suffered mostly due to the economic downturn.
The 2010 increase made DO the fastest growing medium in terms of percentages, according to the DPAA. DO beat out spot TV (24.2%), national spot radio (18.6%) and Internet advertising (9.9%), among others. Additionally, the jump is significant, as DO would not see a large benefit from political advertising for the 2010 midterm elections.
Overall, continued, optimistic growth is expected for the industry. According to PQ Media, revenue is expected to grow nearly 17% more in 2011, to $7.56 billion, per the April 5th mediapost.com article, “Digital OOH Media Revs Soar 24.5% in 2010”.
Dallas city council members are currently debating whether the city will embrace digital billboards.
According to city ordinance, Dallas is slated to gradually phase out billboards in the city.
Clear Channel Outdoor, and other outdoor advertising companies are of the mind that converting to digital billboards will assist in getting rid of some of the older, traditional signs.
“Clear Channel proposed a two to one swap based on square footage of signs. In other words, for every one square foot of digital sign the city allows, the company will get rid of two square feet of traditional sign.”, according to an April 4th blog posting at cityhallblog.dallasnews.com, “Dallas Council Will Take up Digital Billboards Today”.
Scenic Dallas, established in 1999, is an organization dedicated to fighting visual pollution, and to preserving and enhancing the city’s visual environment. It takes the position that the city’s offer is much too generous for outdoor advertisers.
Clear Channel Outdoor is the world’s largest outdoor advertising company with nearly a million displays in over 50 countries across 5 continents. In the U.S., the company operates approximately 200,000 advertising displays.
According to the abc4.com April 1st article, “Digital billboards to possibly be banned”, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is proposing a ban on certain digital billboards along I-15.
The digital billboard displays each last eight seconds, which doesn’t seem so long. However, according to the article, Frank Gray, Director of Community & Economic Development for Salt Lake County, says “those eight seconds are not only a safety hazard for drivers not keeping their eyes on the road, but detrimental to public health, leaving a carbon footprint 800-1000 times greater than regular billboards.” He went on to say that, “The city becomes involved in regulation of things when in fact, they are detrimental or a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare. Usually it’s one or the other. In this case, it’s all three.”
Michael Young, president of the Utah based company, Young Electric Sign Company, (YESCO) was quoted as saying: “We obviously have done studies, regarding the safety of the signs, in a number of cities, and there is no evidence that they cause accidents at all, and the actual statistics show that accidents have not increased once the digital boards have been installed.”
A public hearing is scheduled in the coming days.