Letters: City Needs Policy on Digital Signs

Philadelphia Inquirer

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Letters to the Editor: City needs policy on digital signs peco_sign

Inga Saffron’s article on the PECO sign brings up an issue SCRUB has been working on for quite some time – the issue of digital or electronic signage in the public space (“Signs of light,” Friday). The new sign has more intense lighting, more colors, and faster moving displays even though PECO, in trying out its new sign, has set the brightness at a fraction of what it could be.

Philadelphia currently has no comprehensive policy for electronic signs. It is a given that this technology will continue to evolve and grow. The question we need to ask now is, how do we want this technology used in Philadelphia? Should large commercial logo signs on buildings be allowed to change to bright, moving digital signs? Should neighborhood stores have large, bright signs advertising items sold in their stores all day and night? How about videos with sound?

New sign technologies make living inside a never-ending television commercial a very real possibility. Do we want that to be our reality in Philadelphia?

Lynn McConville
Board member
Society Created to Reduce Urban Blight


Street’s Billboard Deal Paves the Way for Electronic Billboards in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA – Last August when Mayor John Street announced his administration’s secret settlement with three players in the outdoor advertising industry, Scenic Philadelphia voiced concerns about the impact of carte-blanche billboard legalization that gives up $9 million dollars in licensing fees. Now, just a year later, the City is poised to allow ClearChannel to replace conventional billboards with high-tech, electronic billboards, granting yet another plum to the outdoor advertising industry at the expense of Philadelphia’s visual environment and driver safety.

Digital billboards to debut in city

Philadelphia Daily News, August 21, 2007

Digital billboards – which rotate through several static advertisements each minute – will make their debut in the Philadelphia area this week. Already the high-tech signs have critics.

Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings has installed four of the computer-controlled billboards in the city and four in the surrounding counties. Advocates say the boards benefit advertisers, allowing them to easily change their messages – touting a sale one day and a new product the next.

Video billboards coming this way

By Joseph A. Slobodzian
Inquirer Staff Writer

One of ClearChannel’s digital billboards in the Cleveland area. The outdoor-advertising company said an engineer it hired studied traffic for 18 months before and after the billboards’ installation and found no link to highway accidents.

Praised by police, criticized by scenic conservationists and driver-safety groups, and hugely profitable for their owners, digital billboards are about to enter the Philadelphia area.

Neighbors hope to pull digital billboards

By William M. Welch, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — Mark Legan has enjoyed his quiet, leafy neighborhood for 12 years, until someone threw a switch and filled his nights with bright, colorful lights.

“When the sun goes down, you can’t ignore it,” he says, gesturing from his living room toward the giant television billboard that recently went up a half block away on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Ads in the digital age

The Northeast Times, September 6, 2007
By William KennyTimes Staff Writer

Sick of seeing “I hate Steven Singer” in giant bold letters on your way downtown every work day?

How about the litany of Miller Lite, Coors Light and Yuengling ads that loom over Interstate 95 mile after mile leading up to the South Philadelphia stadium exits?

Some relief, at least a form of it, may be on the way for motorists who view local highway billboards as more of a nuisance than an incentive to patronize the products or viewpoints that they purport.

The Felling of the Hoagie City Billboard

Philadelphia City Paper, September 12, 2007

The big billboard was everyone’s poster child for urban blight.

by Bruce Schimmel

The big billboard at 40th and Lancaster was everyone’s poster child for urban blight. Hiding the historic façade of the West Philadelphia Title and Trust Bank, it promoted sneakers and booze, and depressed the neighborhood for more than 50 years.

Giant ad on Inquirer building in doubt

September 12, 2007

Philadelphia Inquirer
By Patrick Kerkstra
Inquirer Staff Writer

A plan to temporarily drape the Inquirer-Daily News Building with a massive advertisement for the film Bee Movie was in doubt yesterday, after community groups denounced the effort, calling it “garish” and “shocking.”

The advertising needs approval before it can go up, and representatives from Philadelphia Media Holdings, which publishes The Inquirer and the Daily News, sought that permission yesterday morning from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Building ad swatted. Why? Bee-cause

September 15, 2007

Philadelphia Daily News

To bee or not to bee?

That was the question.

Answer: Not.

Brian Tierney, chief executive officer of Philadelphia Media Holdings (PMH), which owns the Daily News, Inquirer and Philly.com, decided yesterday to kill plans to put a giant inflatable bee on the company’s North Broad Street headquarters.

The Logan and Callowhill neighborhood associations had opposed the promotion for the upcoming film “Bee Movie.” Earlier, the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment had postponed a decision on the company’s request for a variance to allow the promotion, which also included two large banner ads running down the side of the building. The promotion was to run for three weeks.

No Bees on the Inquirer

September 17, 2007
New York Times

Since taking over The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News last year, Brian P. Tierney, chief executive of Philadelphia Media Holdings, has been encouraging his advertising department to be creative in its use of promotions.