• Digital Billboard Weather/Traffic Cams Drive Profits

     Durden Outdoor generates revenue by mounting weather/traffic cameras on billboard structures.    Insider asked Bill Durden of Durden Outdoor to talk about the project.
     Bill, what gave you the idea to mount weather cameras on billboards.
     I had this idea back in 2013 but had been told by a few old school media pros that the idea wouldn’t work.   Dothan, AL is a small metro and has a county population of around 110,000.  When I would go to larger cities like Orlando or Nashville I would notice that during their local news they would always cut to a Department of Transportation web camera (which were normally low resolution) or sometimes even cut to a live Helicopter shot.  So it made me think that our company could capitalize on this idea as we have all the right ingredients of hi speed internet connections (at digital billboard sites) in multiple cities and one of a kind high traffic camera shots.
    Can you generate rent from the weather cameras?
    Yes.  Our idea with these traffic / weather cameras was multifaceted.  One of our company goals was to partner with a local news source to have updated local / national news RSS feeds on our digital boards in the Durden Digital Network.
    We started out by installing three 360 Axis 720 DPI cameras atop our 3 digital billboards in our highest traffic areas in Dothan, AL and Enterprise, AL.   Our team then created a sales package which would give one local news source (i.e.: TV station, Newspaper, Radio Station) the ability to use 3 traffic / weather cameras exclusively plus have access too their own RSS Live Feed on 5 digital billboards.
    The ABC affiliate in our market loved the idea and signed up for a 12 month contract.  TV station generates great content on a daily basis shown for drivers on our digital network of billboard (see one of my favorites below).  Occasionally the TV station will want to run ads promoting a new anchor or new fall shows which help them pay for this advertising.  The other stipulation was during all 4 of their 30 minuet daily news cast they refer to the camera shots as the Durden Digital Traffic Cams.   Our company has received a lot of bang for our buck with this partnership.
    Did you have to make alterations to your boards to mount the cameras?
    Not really.  You can see a picture below of how we mount them.  We fabricate the camera arms in our welding shop and mount them on the interior of the structure where we feel we can get the best shot.  Our team did figure out that you DO NOT want to install one of of these ip cameras on structure with wireless carrier internet as they can be data hogs.  Only install these on billboards that have unlimited data sources (i.e.: cable, DSL, fiber).
    How do the TV stations use the traffic/weather cameras?
    We have partnered with an ABC affiliate going on our 4th year.  The anchors love using these cameras and normally us them twice in a live 30 minuet news broad cast.  We choose to purchase 360 degree hi resolution ip cameras for our traffic / weather cams so that you can get multiple shots (5 to 15) from one camera.  The anchors will search thru the cameras on a daily basis to find interesting things to talk about ranging from a wreck, a burglary, beautiful sunset, storms, rain, fog, sleet, tornados, ect.  This packing helped to sell this idea because the GM of the station could sell corporate on the fact that not only are we getting some great content for our news cast, but also some digital boards.  The client just renewed for their 4th year.  Here is a video example of how a news anchor uses one of our digital traffic / weather cameras in their out-tro.
    Anything else interesting about this ip cameras?
    Why Dave, I’m glad you asked.  In January we decided to put all of traffic cameras on our website.  Since that time our traffic camera page has become our highest visited site on our page to date.  These cameras generate thousands of views a month to traffic camera page on DurdenOutdoor.com of which we provide links to current billboard specials and other information about that specific digital billboard in an effort to increase sales.  Plus, we take snapshots from these cameras and use for social media content.  Check out all of our traffic cameras here!  We even had a request to mount one of our camera atop our 7 story county administration building.  Now they even feature a link to this awesome shot that looks over our downtown!  See here.  This link alone generates several hundred views per month and has 12 different shots so someone can see a different view every time the visit that link.
     What type of camera do you use?
    Our ip camera of choice is an AXIS P5514-e PTZ  |   https://www.axis.com/us/en/products/axis-p5514-e

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