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California State Legislature Considers Epic Favorable Digital Billboard Exemption

LA Times says Potential for 904 DOOH Locations

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State Proposes Digital Billboards

The Los Angeles Times reports an Out of Home “pilot program’ is to come before the California State Transportation Committee this Tuesday as a bill for consideration by the State Legislature.  The proposed pilot program is a master stroke of genius for OOH if passed.

The bill is sponsored by Democratic Assemblymen Kevin Mullin of South San Francisco and Rob Bonta of Alameda.  The law would exempt 25 digital billboards from the current state ban on such signs in public rights-of-way along freeways. Planned as a 5 year ‘pilot’ program to start, the results will determine future opportunities for more Digital Out of Home units.

Future opportunities, according to the LA Times, could amount to an additional 904 current signs operated by the State, as potential digital OOH advertising locations.

The program as outlined in California State Governor Jerry Brown’s administration report, would allow commercial ads on the 25 ‘exempt’ digital billboards to replace current message digital units operated by the state, in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.  A Caltrans study was delivered to legislators last month.  The three areas were selected as “the highest three revenue markets in the State.”  

The Caltrans agency’s 160-page report, says a successful test could result in commercial ads being extended to more of the 904 changeable message signs operated by the state. If CA state digital locations are anything like Virginia state digital signs I see in my daily travels, the change to private/public management would make for a superior improvement, starting with the fact many Virginia digital signs are not even operating.  

On the other hand, how the state can legislate private OOH ownership out of business then years later turn around and legislate themselves right into the thick of OOH advertising, is a controversial conversation at best.

The OOH Industry, reportedly has spent $2 million lobbying in Sacramento during the last 10 years, while contributing $4.52 million to political campaigns during that period. The contributions include a combined $100,000 to Brown’s campaigns for governor from Foster Interstate Media Inc., Clear Channel Outdoor and Outfront Media.  Clear Channel and Outfront also contributed billboard advertising worth a combined $193,000 to Brown’s campaign for Proposition 30, the governor’s 2012 ballot measure that temporarily raised taxes on the wealthy.

This innovative, architecturally designed structure has two 20’ x 60’ LED displays and is a community-based Public Private Partnership that benefits both the Port of Oakland and the Oakland School for the Arts.
Bay Bridge LED Spectacular In 2007, Foster Interstate collaborated with CBS Outdoor on a project to build state-of-the-art LED displays in the vicinity of the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge on Port of Oakland property.

According to the LA Times, supporters of the bill include Outfront Media and Intelligent Sign Network LLC, which has ties to Foster Interstate Media. 

Read about the City of Chicago and Foster Media,  who comprise the City of Chicago Digital Network

FIMI executives conceived of the CDN, the first large format digital signage network on public land, for Chicago in their response to a Request for Qualifications issued by the City of Chicago and they have successfully permitted almost 95% of the program and have more than one-third installed, after changing state and local law to implement the program.
City of Chicago Digital Network Foster Interstate Media, Inc. (“FIMI”) is comprised of the same team who were chosen by the City of Chicago to design, permit, construct, install and operate the first-of-its kind and most innovative large-format digital communication network in the United States, the City Digital Network (“CDN”).




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