Over 75 percent of electronic billboard placements can be found in 17 major metropolitan regions, where the four major players often overlap. Six of the 17 markets are in the top 20 for most congested highways (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, and Atlanta). Strategically placed at bottlenecks and heavily congested areas such as the highway through San Francisco, digital displays have an opportunity to reach more than 875,000 people daily. Even areas with low populations such as White Plains, NY, (56,000) have high commuter presence (200,000).
The addition of billboards in these areas could boost sales significantly when reaching the right clients. Less than 25 percent of electronic billboards are found in markets with populations of fewer than 250,000 residents. As the cost for electronic billboards continues to decrease, more growth is likely to be found in those smaller population markets, in part because there tends to be weaker community opposition. For example, the market between Appleton, WI, and Chicago, IL, appears to have more electronic billboards per capita than any other market in the US. States that have so far banned electronic billboards include Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine.
Public Service Message Uses for LED Billboards
The possibilities with LED billboards go beyond advertisements. Some of the more common usages of these displays are to stream live news, scores, weather updates, etc. But one of the more unique uses is helping the government track down criminals. The FBI has made several contracts to display most wanted criminals on billboards. With so many people seeing these displays daily, it is no wonder that in two years they have helped solve more than 35 cases.
While over 96 percent of billboard locations will continue to be printed billboards in the US market through at least 2015, electronic billboards will become more ubiquitous. CBS Outdoor, LaMar Advertising, JC Decaux, and Clear Channel are all putting LED billboards at the forefront of their vision; investing more and more into them each day. The driving factor is the ability to provide more advertisements in the same space, increasing the revenue utilization of that space, followed by a reduction in labor costs. Factors holding back more placements and conversion from printed to electronic billboards will eventually not be hardware cost and return-on-investment, but mainly outside factors, such as regulatory and community opposition.