Launch of digital outdoor network in South Africa


Primedia Outdoor is launching what is billed as the first large-format, high-resolution digital outdoor network in South Africa. As a result, it reports that many early adopting advertisers have already commenced with their creative production.

While this digital trend has evolved at a rapid pace in the US, the development of high-quality digital networks in the local outdoor industry is, to date, in its infancy. According to S'khumbuzo Nkosi, Primedia Outdoor's CEO, "The Primedia Outdoor Digital Network will provide top-quality digital outdoor, offering advertisers unique flexibility and spellbinding clarity, day and night."

The corner of Rivonia Road and Grayston Drive in Sandton, Johannesburg, will host the first 4m x 8m digital billboard, fondly named Venus, providing advertisers an enormous and valuable daily traffic count – 38 510 high income consumers. Set at an oblique angle, Venus's digital face cleverly addresses traffic approaching from both Benmore on Graystone and the Sandton CBD travelling north on Rivonia Road, towards the M1 highway.

Mars, the second site, is situated further north on Rivonia Road, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, addressing the dense north-bound traffic towards the N1 highway and Sunninghill. Mars counts 21 294 vehicles a day and is 3m x 6m in size.

Saturn on the corner of William Nicol and Ballyclare Drives reaches all traffic headed south on William Nicol, from Bryanston and Fourways, towards the Sandton CBD and Hyde Park. Saturn is clearly visible to 20 408 vehicles a day and is 4m x 8m in size.

Jupiter dominates the busy William Nicol and Sandton Drive intersection, feeding north and west-bound commuters towards Bryanston. It is also 4m x 8m in size and records a traffic count of 33 319 vehicles a day.

In addition to the many benefits provided by outdoor advertising, this network will allow advertisers to achieve high-impact, high-resolution outdoor communication on a digital platform – providing tactical messaging, day-part message management, real-time updates and inexpensive creative changes. Nkosi explains that the network of screens allows for region, site, or time-based information to be adapted tactically, in a quick and inexpensive manner, while a range of brands or sub-brands can be interchanged within an advertiser's slot to allow message rotation and greater relevance.

"Messages can be changed across the network, or by site, allowing advertisers to pick up on local lingo and events, while the brand's core message can be adapted throughout the day to ensure time-based relevance," he adds.

The digital network will be set up to allow direct data feeds, enabling relevant content to be downloaded directly to the site. "While standard copy changes require a lead time of 24 hours, more immediate copy changes will also be offered, providing greater relevance and flexibility to our clients," Nkosi says.

Creative conceptualisation costs are similar for traditional and digital outdoor; however, the 'print' cost for digital outdoor falls away and is replaced by a nominal 'upload' cost to get the message onto the network. "In the interest of driving greater tactical and frequent message changes, Primedia Outdoor will provide the first two creative changes at no cost," Nkosi explains.

Another significant difference between traditional and digital outdoor is that the latter only requires one (digital) version of the creative execution, rather than having to print faces for each traditional site.

Further cost saving is provided by the fact that once creative material has been generated, it exists (in digital form) in perpetuity, allowing advertisers to re-broadcast material without having to re-print it.In terms of digital design, the essence is clear. "Be simple, be colourful and be bold. Then sit back and enjoy the results from Saturn, Venus, Mars and Jupiter," Nkosi concludes.