TEMPE, AZ-Although costlier than static billboard advertising, Vestar Development Co. is willing to pay the extra for installation of high-definition LED billboards at Tempe Marketplace. The two 70-foot-high billboards are a first in the state.

The screens have four viewing screens, each 14 foot by 48 foot. The billboards already are flashing various messages, even though the 1.3-million-sf Tempe Marketplace won’t officially open until fall.

David Malin, Vestar’s project manager for new development in Arizona, says the company wouldn’t have considered the new advertising technology if it hadn’t been for Tempe Marketplace’s location along Rio Salado Parkway, west of Loop 101. “The significance of that location is that it’s on the southwest corner of loops 202 and 101,” he says. “It’s the only freeway-to-freeway intersection in the area and something like 650,000 cars a day go through there.”

The unique location also is why most passersby won’t see LEDs popping up on other Vestar properties. “We’re going site-specific in terms of making those types of decisions,” Malin says. “The traffic count has to justify the costs.”

Malin tells GlobeSt.com that the electronic billboards had been approved by the Tempe City Council as part of the project’s overall signage package. Any additional LEDs will need to be run by the council.

Cost figures weren’t available for the boards, which are more expensive than standard billboards. “That’s why they have to be put into the highest traffic locations, to justify the costs advertisers will pay,” he adds.

What, exactly, will advertisers get for that cost? For one thing, they can change what’s being advertised–at any given moment, 24 hours a day. “They can break it out, hour by hour, if needed,” Malin explains. “This really maximizes opportunities for advertising.” He adds that the challenge has been making local buyers aware of the opportunity although national buyers already know about the technology.

American Outdoor Advertising of Dublin, OH is leasing the LEDs. Contracts can range from days to months, with the average contract lasting a year.

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