Nowadays, the outdoor advertising industry is many-sided. It offers splendid opportunities for both small business and huge companies. Patti Williams, a consulting partner with Hanover, MA-based IT Strategies, an author of an influential report on the size of the outdoor advertising market, said: "In terms of outdoor signage this market is growing as advertisers look for new places to put things. They will put signs on outdoor benches, waiting areas and bus shelters. There are companies that will give cities free public toilets or outdoor benches, or some kind of outdoor furniture. Give it to them! However, they will retain the advertising rights. Thus, there are more places to advertise. Outdoor advertising is bigger than only the billboard market."
Even the sky is not the limit for outdoor advertising. As Teresa Young, a president and CEO of Sign Biz Inc. (www.signbiz.com) of Dana Point, CA, and an International Sign Association board of directors executive committee member said: "We cannot even see the sky right now, because new applications are emerging almost daily. We cannot even wrap our arms around it yet."
The outdoor advertising market is growing rapidly. Every year it offers new possibilities like outdoor benches, balloons, buses, trucks and a lot of others. In Williams's company's 2003 report on outdoor advertising, 2002 revenues from the printing of outdoor advertising were pegged at sixteen point seven billion worldwide and six point six billion in the US.
"The interesting thing about those numbers is that at the time, I estimated that eighty eight was printed with the analog technology," she says. "But what we were seeing then and expect to see in the future is more and more of that analog dollar declining and digital printing, growing-especially as screen printers increasingly adopt digital printing."
A few years ago, Dunkin' Donuts or McDonald's truck used to carry visually uninspired company logos. Nowadays, they show bright and colorful images of a taste-tempting selection of baked goods or a juicy burger, tantalizing enough to want to eat. Williams asserts that such images are impossible to create with a simple screen printing. "Digital printing has entered the market, and has upped the ante about what can be done," she says. "Advertisers EXPECT more today. Hence, there is a nice opportunity for digital printers."
The rapid evolution of outdoor advertising is not greeted in all countries of the world. Canada, for instance, discourages large outdoor devices and bus shelters, transit and outdoor storage benches advertising represent the lion's share of the money, spent on the outdoor industry there. Four U.S. states ban billboards. Additionally, most of these outdoor signs represent contract rights, not real-estate interests.
In overall, the sign industry is an advertising medium, similar to that of television or periodicals or radio. Large outdoor signs, outdoor benches or billboards sell space, based on huge rating pints. They are often determined by a national rating system, which gives buyers some information on the reach, telling whom they expose to the billboard or outdoor benches material.