Update: L.A. City Council Bans New Digital Billboards

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Friday (Aug. 7) to ban the construction of new digital billboards and the conversion of any existing digital boards to digital.

Action by the Council Friday was prompted by a pending court case scheduled for Aug. 17 that challenges the City’s temporary moratorium on billboard applications.

The new ordinance may not be the final chapter for the buildout of new digital boards and could be revised when the Council returns from its summer break and revisits digital billboards as part of the development of a comprehensive ordinance covering all out of home signage.

Opponents of the digital boards cited the usual concerns, such as urban blight and safety, despite independent studies from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America and others showing no correlation between accidents and the signage. Most states allow digital billboards.

Law enforcement officials have favored digital billboards, which have been used for AMBER Alerts and other public service messages.

Digital billboards are a moneymaker for outdoor companies, which can sell the space to multiple advertisers. Clear Channel Outdoor is the largest operator of digital billboards in the market with 87 digital billboards. CBS Outdoor has 15.