Stories

The billboard survives

Unlike other traditional advertising platforms like magazines and newspapers, out-of-home advertising such as billboards and subway posters grew almost 7% last year, mostly due to the rapid conversion of static ad spaces to digital. Per eMarketer, roughly 50% of all out-of-home ads will be digital this year, up 10% from 2014.

Data: Standard Media Index; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Why it matters: What used to plague out-of-home advertising growth was its inability to measure accurately how many people, and which types of people, saw the ads. But with the rise of digital screens and smartphone ownership, that's all about to change. Andy Sriubas, EVP of OUTFRONT Media, one of the largest U.S. out-of-home ad companies, tells Axios that his company has created a new technology that will serve people the same billboards ads that they pass on the street on their smartphones in real time, doubling the impact. Digital billboard ads can also be sold programmatically, increasing the number of advertisers who can buy them which creates more demand.

What's next: OUTFRONT is already experimenting with rotating, TV-like content on outdoor screens across different U.S. cities that will transform the ad business into a content business. The screens will feature rotating ads between clips of sports, weather and news updates.