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U.S. Public Backs Digital Billboards, Survey Says

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An August poll found that 80 percent of U.S. adults believe digital billboards are useful to drivers in giving them important information, and nearly the same proportion disagree with attempts to ban billboards.

U.S. Public Backs Digital Billboards, Survey SaysThe American public overwhelmingly supports digital billboards despite many municipalities’ attempts to ban them, according to new research commissioned by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA).

“People know a good thing when they see it,” said Nancy Fletcher, president and CEO of the OAAA, which paid for the study but says it had no involvement in formulating the questions asked or interpreting the results. They understand, sometimes even better than politicians and regulators, when something is good for their communities and their businesses. Clearly, they agree digital billboards are good”, she added.

Seventy percent of those polled disagreed with the statement “I hate billboards”, and 76 percent disapproved of attempts to ban them. Support was slightly higher among younger people than in the population as a whole. Nearly two thirds of consumers – 63 percent – rely on billboards, both digital and non-digital, to find out about accommodation, dining and visitor attractions when they are travelling, according to the research.

“People appreciate and use outdoor advertising,” said Fletcher. “Those who advocate against billboards are out of step with the majority of Americans.”

The study is the latest salvo in a long-running battle between the outdoor-advertising sector in the U.S. and local governments, which have frequently rejected the new technology, citing concerns over traffic safety and aesthetics. Denver, Durham, Houston and Kansas City are among those which have banned digital billboards, along with many smaller communities. The margin for error in the survey, conducted by Strategy One and Opinion Research Corporation, was 3.1 percent, the OAAA said.