Van Wagner's Next Big Digital Play: Analog Billboards

It's not news that digital billboards are the big trend in outdoor advertising, popular with owners and advertisers because they can display multiple ads and target commuter dayparts. But Van Wagner Communications, in addition to creating full digital displays, is adding some innovative forms of digital content to draw attention to its static billboards, essentially creating static-digital hybrids.

Van Wagner's initiative will retrofit all its billboards with stainless steel aprons and digital time and temperature displays. The company hopes this information will attract commuters' attention to the ads themselves. The retrofit will eventually be standard on all the company's static billboards, beginning with New York City this summer, then extending to Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

The digital time and temperature displays are clearly visible, but relatively unobtrusive compared to full digital displays. As such, they may be spared the criticism leveled at the latter by safety advocates and local governments that claim they distract drivers, resulting in accidents.



Digital billboard operators have produced studies showing there is no correlation between digital billboards and increased accident rates, but the dynamic displays still face opposition from many state and local governments.

Time, Weather, What's Next? How About Hockey? To prove that digital is impacting all forms of out-of-home media, the NHL has struck a deal to utilize a new distribution technology to promote professional hockey games in the U.S. and Canada. Using the technology, developed by Signiant, the NHL will showcase behind-the-scenes content shot in the field from the NHL Network Online ( on NHL arena Jumbotrons.

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