‘L.A. Times’ Reaches Commuters With News — and Ads — On Digital Billboards

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Commuters stuck in notorious L.A. traffic now can get their news on giant billboards. For the past week and a half, the Los Angeles Times has been displaying news headlines on 10 digital billboards located across the city as part of a 10-week trial.

The spots, comprised of major news, sports, entertainment stories, rotate every eight seconds with ads promoting upcoming editions and events sponsored by the newspaper.

The billboards reach roughly 455,000 people per day, said John O’Loughlin, senior vice president of marketing for Los Angeles Times Group.

“We spend a lot of time in our cars in L.A.,” O’Loughlin said. “The overall ability to capture drivers’ attention is paramount.”

As part of an agreement with billboard owner Clear Channel Outdoor, the content of the spots could be updated anytime by the newspaper’s editorial and marketing departments.

Spots in the morning typically promote the lead stories in the print editions, and are updated later in the day with breaking news featured on the newspaper’s Web site.

The spots “not only remind people that we’re a 24-7 multimedia operation … it also reminds advertisers that we’re the definitive choice in Southern California,” O’Loughlin said.

The response has been mostly positive, O’Loughlin said. He cited a study by media and marketing research firm Arbitron that found a majority of drivers surveyed in Cleveland were able to recall at least one ad they had seen on a digital billboard.

When the Times launched the billboards Feb. 23 with entertainment news leading up to the Oscars, the newspaper’s awards show Web site TheEnvelope.com received 101 million page views?up 34 percent from a year ago, O’Loughlin said.


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