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KAI RYSSDAL: Most of the news you’ve probably seen about CBS lately has been about exactly that — CBS News and whether or not Katie Couric’s going to be sticking around for too much longer. But there is plenty more to worry about. The Internet, for one. Advertising for another. Revenues are down in both television and radio. CBS billboards, though, are doing just fine. It’s the company’s fastest growing division. Just this week CBS spent $110 million to expand in South America. From the Americas Desk at WLRN in Miami, Marketplace’s Dan Grech reports.
DAN GRECH: Driving down the highway, you may have noticed one of those flashy digital billboards. They first started appearing in 2005. And they’re the new face of outdoor advertising, the fastest growing ad medium after the Internet.
STEPHEN FASO: Out of home, which is considered the oldest media, when you consider the hieroglyphics on the walls of the caves, is the hottest media right now.
That’s Stephen Faso with Outdoor Services Incorporated. He says as people spend less time in their homes, advertisers have gone out and found them.
FASO: You have an opportunity to reach consumers throughout their daytime. At the gas station, in the grocery store, in their fitness center, in their local restaurant, in their bars and clubs. The list goes on and on and on.
While advertising in radio, TV and newspapers tanks, outdoor advertising is growing by 7 percent a year. Unlike the old vinyl billboards that carried just one advertisement, digital billboards can rotate up to eight. That’s why CBS, one of the biggest outdoor advertisers in the world, spent over $100 million for International Outdoor Advertising, which operates in South America.
Lorraine Hadfield directs international audience measurement for Nielsen. She says the growth in outdoor advertising is driven by better billboards and longer commutes.
Lorraine Hadfield: We use the term “opportunity to see” and sometimes, you know, we could even use the term “opportunity to mesmerize” because you’re literally sitting in gridlock.
Billboard viewership is also becoming a science. Nielsen now outfits people with GPS monitors to get exact measurements of how many people see a billboard.
I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.
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