Booking of billboard space made easier

Local media company Moving Walls has started an online service that allows advertisers to book space on more than 2,000 digital billboards in five Asian countries, including Singapore.

More than 900 digital billboards - they display images controlled by a computer - across 150 locations, and owned by companies such as Singapore Press Holdings and Mediacorp, can be booked here.

The Moving Audiences Asia platform, as the service is called, uses an advanced algorithm to determine a screen's availability, the time slots and pricing. This bypasses the need to have meetings and negotiations with different billboard owners.

  • 150 

  • Number of locations with digital billboards

The outdoor advertising billboard segment has been the only growing part of the traditional media sector, which has been hit hard by tech titans Facebook and Google. Demand for outdoor advertising, known in the industry as out-of-home advertising, is expected to continue growing in the Asean region.

The market in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will increase from US$944 million (S$1.3 billion) to US$1.3 billion by 2020, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report. Singapore's market is estimated at US$150 million this year.

"Out-of-home has been stagnant, but now it's becoming a part of the whole dynamic moving story that will attract people's attention, and that's what advertising is all about," said Mr Bernard Chan, chief executive of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Singapore.

Part of the allure of advertising on digital platforms like Google and Facebook has been the ability to gather data on consumer behaviour, such as their age and gender, as well as their digital route through different Web pages before making a purchase.

Mr Srikanth Ramachandran, founder and executive director of Moving Walls, said digital media took about 15 to 16 years to reach that level of sophistication but out-of-home advertising is catching up and beginning to use data science to provide customers with similar metrics, particularly in the United States.

Billboards can now allow people to interact with them. Mobile mobile, for instance, can be used to scan QR codes on billboards to access information.

The Moving Audiences platform uses publicly available information on Singapore's open data portal (http://data.gov.sg) on population, transport, infrastructure. It also uses information, which includes photo images, Google Maps, social media and individual billboards, to generate data on consumer behaviour.

Mr Ramachandran, who was speaking at the service's launch at Shangri-La Hotel yesterday, said his vision is for screen interactivity to be akin to that seen in sci-fi movies.

"The inspiration was Blade Runner and how the director visualised what the real world would be in terms of screens, engagements and where buildings talk back to you."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Booking of billboard space made easier'. Print Edition | Subscribe