News & Events

News & Events

Lamar Advertising Celebrates Twenty Years of Digital Out of Home

With the debut of the industry’s first large format digital billboard in Baton Rouge in 2001, Lamar sparked the digital transformation in Out of Home

Baton Rouge, LA – October 25, 2021 – Lamar Advertising, one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the world, is commemorating a major milestone in Out of Home advertising – the 20th anniversary of the industry’s first large format digital billboard. The brainchild of former Lamar Vice President of Operations Bobby Switzer, the first digital billboard was conceived by Lamar and debuted in Baton Rouge in 2001. In the 20 years since, digital has transformed the Out of Home industry, giving advertisers new and innovative ways to deliver relevant and time-sensitive messages to target audiences. 

“The creation of that first digital billboard changed the entire ballgame for the Out of Home industry,” said Sean Reilly, CEO of Lamar Advertising Company. “It began the process of transforming Out of Home into the advanced, data-powered, technology-enabled, and measurable channel that it has become. Digital has changed the way Out of Home inventory is bought and sold and presents new dynamic creative opportunities for advertisers.”

In just seven years following the debut of the first digital billboard, Lamar grew its digital network to 1,000 displays. Today, Lamar operates the largest network of large-format digital billboards in the United States with approximately 3,800 displays. In between, the company achieved several significant milestones in its efforts to advance Digital Out of Home, including:

  • 2006: Created the industry’s first Network Operating Center to monitor and support digital billboards nationwide
  • 2011: Displayed live March Madness sports scores in real-time for the first time
  • 2012: Launched the first user-generated Digital Out of Home campaign
  • 2015: Made digital inventory available for programmatic buying
  • 2016: Incorporated vehicle recognition technology into a campaign for Chevy Malibu
Today, Lamar digital billboard campaigns can be bought and activated programmatically, leveraged to extend social and mobile campaigns, and used to display creative content triggered dynamically by any number of variables. Additionally, Lamar’s digital network has become a critical tool for public safety. Law enforcement authorities, government agencies, and public health officials utilize the real-time messaging capabilities of Lamar’s digital network to display warnings and share important information.

The 2021 eMarketer Out of Home Report predicts that more than two-fifths of all Out of Home ad spending will go toward Digital Out of Home by 2025, by which point the revenue generated by Digital Out of Home is expected to be $3.17 billion.

“Lamar has always been at the forefront of innovation in Out of Home. We are constantly working to enhance our digital capabilities to provide advertisers with opportunities to deliver contextually relevant messages at the right time, in the right place, to the right audience,” continued Reilly. 

To celebrate this major milestone, Lamar is publishing a special edition of its Digital & Dirt podcast featuring an interview with Switzer, widely regarded as the “Godfather of Digital,” who discusses how the idea for a digital billboard was first conceived and executed. Additionally, Lamar has launched a new video celebrating 20 years of Digital Out of Home, which can be viewed here.

About Lamar Advertising Company
Founded in 1902, Lamar Advertising Company (Nasdaq: LAMR) is one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the world, with over 351,000 displays across the United States and Canada. Lamar offers advertisers a variety of billboard, interstate logo, transit and airport advertising formats, helping both local businesses and national brands reach broad audiences every day. In addition to its more traditional out of home inventory, Lamar is proud to offer its customers the largest network of digital billboards in the United States with approximately 3,800 displays. Please feel free to explore our website www.lamar.com or contact us at hello@lamar.com for additional information.

Press Contact:

Allie McAlpin
Lamar Advertising Company
VP of Marketing Services and Communications 
(225) 926-1000
amcalpin@lamar.com

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