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Waiting on the World to Change

The Addressable Digital OOH

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OOH …Here’s One Thing

by Jim Johnsen,
Managing Director, Johnsen, Fretty & Company

So I was listening to NPR on my way to an early platform tennis match yesterday (ya don’t shoot me…not much else on), when an interesting piece about the history of libraries came on.  I tried desperately to find the story later through NPR – Breaking News, Analysis, Music, Arts & Podcasts : NPR and through mr. google to no avail.   If anyone can find it, I’ve got a nice bottle of Brunello with your name on it.  In any event the short piece did a great job of capturing the arc of the dissemination of knowledge throughout human existence…from the stone tablet, to the papyrus, to the construction of the physical library as a place to collect and store human knowledge (turns out there was an arms race between the Athenians and the Egyptians a few centuries before the big man showed up), to the advent of paper and the scores of monks conscripted to a life of hand to hand copying, the Gutenberg press in the 1400’s which dramatically changed man’s ability to transfer knowledge en mass, and then the many printing innovations for the next 500 years which allowed a whole lot more people to become smart, as well as the libraries around the world designed and built to bring knowledge to the people (e.g. the Bodleian library at Oxford, the Library of Congress, the Vatican Library, The Trinity College Library, etc, etc).  And hey what about the invention of the Dewey decimal system, which allowed us to find what we wanted damn quickly if we knew how to use it.  When one looks at human advancement through the transfer of knowledge over the whole arc…it’s actually quite mind blowing (and lest you fear…no I have not taken a gummi).   But, and there will be many that will want to shoot me when I say this, the internet and its ability to put information at our fingertips in a millisecond, blows all that came before it away.   Don’t believe me?  When was the last time you went to the card catalog at the library?  

Fantastic Johnsen, but what is the point?  Well the point is our industry is going to change massively like everything else around it.  We could spend all of our idle time thinking about how AV (aka autonomous vehicles) is going to change us.  I got to hear from one of our fine PA government officials during the Outdoor Advertising Association of Pennsylvania meeting last week.  Autonomous vehicles rule signed into Pennsylvania law (landline.media).  Lots of great headlines and big thinking, but no solution in sight (thank God) to issues like insurance “at fault”.  That aside, some good times were had in Harrisburg.  See picture below.  But I digress.  One of the futures I see is, assuming each display face is digital (I see a future of digital digital and digital static), each display face should be readily findable and accessible, just like you can access any website in the world from a browser.  Hold on Johnsen, that is f’ing scary!  Is it?  Is it any scarier (or more risky) than having your website hacked?  Aren’t there really smart nerds that can build all kinds of firewalls?  Okay Johnsen, let’s say I can get over the world being able to look in on what’s running on my display face at any point in time?  But why the hell would they want to?  Well for starters, because they saw a cool ad but couldn’t remember where to go to purchase the product.  Or perhaps they are a local business that wants to purchase some advertising and wants to try it on for size in the metaverse first.  Or maybe its a national advertiser looking to execute its own last minute blitz…yes I know it quickly makes your hair hurt.  But the point is if each display face we own is readily addressable (including through a google search)…man we can turn a sign into much more than a sign.  

As Edward Murrow used to say “Good night and Good Luck” (the new series depicts him as a quite a player…who would of thunk it)




Securities transacted through StillPoint Capital Member firm FINRA/SiPC

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of OOH Today or imply endorsement. Johnsen, Fretty and Co. is an advertiser with OOH Today.

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