Surprise! Billboard Industry Poll Reports that Angelenos Dig Digital Billboards


A newly released survey conducted in Los Angeles County found that  just 22 percent of residents polled were familiar with the politics and legal mess surrounding digital billboards. Of that fraction, just six percent reported that the issue was important to them.

Those are only a few of the surprising (not!) findings that surfaced last month after a 10-day study commissioned by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.  These are the guys who "promote, protect and advance the outdoor advertising industry." Four hundred and one residents over the age of 18 were interviewed by telephone in their homes between December 19 and 29, 2008, according to Arbitron Inc., the media and research firm conducting the survey.

The study also found that 47 percent of county residents considered

billboards attractive while 20 percent had a "neutral attitude" towards

them. Hispanic residents showed barely any interest in the digital

billboard debate, according to the poll, with only three percent

reporting that the issue was important to their daily lives. A whopping

73 percent found that billboards "can be of service to the community"

by giving out timely emergency information such as Amber Alerts - a hot button issue with the state right now.

This

edifying poll was released at a potentially devastating time for the

digital billboard industry in Los Angeles. A few days before the survey

came out, the Los Angeles City Council endorsed California Assemblymember Mike Feuer's proposed state ban

on all digital billboards until 2012 to await the outcome of three

highway studies into the potential traffic hazards posed by the

brightly-lit screens. In early December, the Los Angeles City Council

approved a three-month moratorium

after billboards began popping up in Silverlake, Encino, Westchester,

Westwood and Venice, among other communities. The city moratorium came

about after the city council quietly approved more than 800 digital billboards in 2007 as part of the city's settlement deal with Clear Channel Outdoor, CBS Outdoor and Regency.


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