The CEO of billboard advertising giant Clear Channel International has said the introduction of near field communication technology to billboard advertising will be "transformative" for the industry.
In an interview with the Financial Times, William Eccleshare outlined his belief that outdoor advertising — be it billboards or bus shelters — will be overwhelmingly a technology business by 2020. He added that NFC would be an integral part of this transformation.
"As mobiles become payment devices, the ability to buy off a poster in a bus shelter or a shopping mall is going to be transformative," Eccleshare says.
"We will see a shrinkage in the total number of outdoor fixtures and panels but an increase in quality in the way in which consumers interact with those panels."
Eccleshare goes on to say he believes the change to digital — while providing new pitfalls — is now at a point where new technologies are coming together to provide a real business opportunity. 90% of outdoor advertising will be delivered digitally by 2020, up from 10% now in the UK, for example.
"I get the sense it is all coming together," Eccleshare says. "Convergence is starting to happen and this year we are going to start seeing some real breakthroughs in that, in terms of providing real revenue and a real business model.
"Technology is transforming our rather old-fashioned business and I can now see — which I couldn't a year ago — how over the next five to seven years, it's going to become really significant."
Clear Channel Outdoor operates close to one million displays in 45 countries across five continents.