The average American household watches more than eight hours of
television a day, according to a recent study by Nielsen Media Research. But
what happens when the moving images begin making their way from the boob tube
to the billboard?
That’s the question at least two states are trying to answer. In Tennessee and Montana, officials are hammering out new policies about whether to allow
streaming video advertisements on the sides of roadways.
In Tennessee, for example, video billboards have previously been
banned. However, according to The Tennessean newspaper, the state’s Department of Transportation is planning to revise its
policies to allow electronic billboards that display still images, not video.
“Our sign experts have determined that, in their opinion, it would be
too distracting to have streaming video on the interstates when cars are going
at high speeds,” TDOT spokeswoman Kim Keelor told The Tennessean.
Tennessee’s policy revision is still underway, and will
require a vote in the Legislature before it can be put into place.
Meanwhile, in Montana, DOT officials and billboard manufacturers are at
odds over the state’s video-billboard policies. Rulemakers within the DOT have
a proposal – which would require approval from the state’s Transportation
Commission – that would allow billboards that present a slideshow of advertisements.
Supporters of the new rule said the slideshow would only rotate an
image every six seconds, rather than displaying video, and would only be
allowed in locations where billboards already exist, the Billings Gazette reported.
However, opponents worry that the rotating images would still be
distracting to motorists, and would not fit well with the state’s scenic
“There’s not very many people in the state who want them,” Lane
Coddington, a Missoula, MT, resident who attended a public hearing on the
matter, told the Gazette. “Most
of (those people) are sitting in this room.”