With news being displayed on screens in New York taxis and at gas pumps across the country, the latest entry in 24/7 news should come as no surprise. The Los Angeles Times is using digital billboards to reach drivers stuck in LA traffic. Times executive John O’Loughlin tells MediaWeek:
You’ll see messaging in the morning focused on what’s news in the morning’s paper. As the day progresses, we’ll be updating with things on the Web site. This is cool technology that reminds people we’re a 24/7 news and content organization.
The LA experiment marks the first time billboard owner Clear Channel has given an outside client direct access to its displays. The company made a 10-week deal with the Times that it hopes will be extended.
There’s some evidence that the billboard news briefs can push traffic (no pun intended) to the Web. According to Editor and Publisher, when the Times launched the billboards with entertainment news leading up to the Oscars, traffic at the paper’s “awards insider” Web site TheEnvelope.com was up 34 percent from a year ago.