• Watchfire and Blip Offer Digital Billboard Incentive

    A two-sided digital billboard and steel monopole structure can cost $250,000 – $350,000—a significant investment regardless of the size or experience of the billboard operator. In August, digital billboard manufacturer Watchfire Signs and Blip Billboards, an online digital billboard ad seller, announced an innovative program to help reduce the upfront cost of a new Watchfire digital billboard. A buyer of a Watchfire digital billboard can pre-sell one of the digital billboard’s slots to the program and receive a one-time incentive on the cost of the billboard. Insider interviewed Darrin Friskney, Watchfire’s vice president of digital outdoor and marketing.

    Darrin, how does the program work?

    Sometimes digital billboards have unsold space. This space is perishable: once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Our program allows buyers of new Watchfire boards to minimize unsold space by pre-selling a slot for anywhere between one and five years. Based on the location’s traffic count, a value is determined and the incentive is applied immediately to the price of the new display. It’s easy and straightforward: the billboard operator doesn’t have to wait around and hope for success, they get value right up front.

    Some operators have said that they don’t need the incentive because their sites are 100 percent occupied. In those cases, we couldn’t agree more. It’s optimal for billboard operators to have all their space sold at full rates. However, as most experienced operators know, sometimes advertising space is available and that’s where this program can help. It’s a guaranteed way to smooth out the gaps. Some operators only want to pre-sell an advertising slot for the first year, and that’s fine. Others like to have a larger guaranteed value, so they opt-in for several years. It’s a very flexible program and the billboard operator can control the value of the incentive.

    Why partner with Blip?

    We’ve discussed a program like this with others in the past, but Blip was the only company able to commit to the pre-purchase of the slot upfront. That’s the key to making this work—an upfront guarantee. Blip has the confidence to guarantee the incentive value and take this from being a return that we hope to deliver to a return that’s guaranteed because it’s 100 percent realized on the day the display is ordered.   No leap of faith is necessary, and that’s what we like about partnering with Blip.

    What is the upfront discount tied to?

    The upfront discount is tied to three variables: pre-selling a slot to the program, the duration of the commitment (one to five years) and the traffic count at the site. Watchfire’s territory managers have a worksheet that can calculate a site’s incentive value in about 30 seconds.

    How much of an incentive can a billboard operator expect?

    It can be a few thousand dollars if the commitment timeframe is short and the traffic count is modest. At the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got deals where the incentive is worth $60,000 – $70,000. We’ve had deals where the operator can cut the price of a 14’ x 48’ digital billboard in half. It can really change the economics of installing a new display.

    Is the discount available on any digital billboard or are there certain qualities that Watchfire and Blip want to see concerning location and the characteristics of the operator?

    This program is only available on new Watchfire boards where we can validate the traffic count. The only constraint is that the maximum incentive is capped at half the price of the display. We tried to make this a very easy program to understand and implement. All a billboard operator has to do is opt-in and they get their incentive on day one.

    The program is available on the first 50 billboard orders that opt-in. To learn more about the program contact your Watchfire territory manager or visit Watchfire here–http://www.watchfiresigns.com/blog/blip/.


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