As promised, the California assembly is considering a bill that would place a three-year moratorium on the construction of new digital billboards, including the conversion of existing billboards; it would also halt the construction of digital billboards currently underway. Assembly Bill 109 was introduced last week by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, (D-Los Angeles), close on the heels of a court victory for opponents of digital billboards in the Los Angeles area.
I am pleased to report that I got some interesting feedback to my New Year's column asking for suggestions on where digital out-of-home media is heading next. Some of the more interesting comments came from a top marketing executive who asked not to be identified, but who is an expert on all things out-of-home, including the digital kind.
Tuesday the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a setback to out-of-home advertisers in Los Angeles with its decision to uphold the city's 2002 ban on new outdoor advertising. Specifically, the court found that the ban did not violate the First Amendment right to free speech, reversing the decision of lower courts. The plaintiff, MetroLights, had challenged the provision against off-site advertising, in which a building surface is used to advertise a product not sold there. But the rebuff has implications for digital out-of-home advertising, a main target of the city's ban.
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