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JCDecaux: The Biggest Outdoor Media Company You've Never Heard Of

Digitalposters Here's the next outdoor display concept destined to burn brightly, if only for awhile: 65 inch Sharp PN655R LCDs acting as "digital posters", courtesy of Engadget.

They're super-crisp, and if you've seen them at CES, you know how amazing it looks up front.

Yet every time I see a technology like this, I'm reminded of a little French company called JCDecaux, and how the latest technologies are frequently humbled by unexpectedly primitive alternatives.

JCDecaux happens to be #2 only to Clear Channel in outdoor media. Slowly but surely, JCDecaux has become the outdoor media magnate of choice not only in Europe and the US, but also in emerging markets like China. They've done it not by relying on the latest technology, but by providing a brightly lit image that rolls up periodically to reveal the next image, and securing important rights-of-way with cities and other property managers. If you've visited high-end properties managed by Simon, Taubman or Westfield you've probably seen JCDecaux displays in the common areas.

Outdoor media is important because the next generation of consumers will base their life around the mobile phone. If you can't count on your message being the top icon on every consumer Blackberry or iPhone, then you're going to need outdoor media to provide the call-to-action. I know that many people swear that people will become more accepting of mobile coupons automagically personalized to individual preferences and delivered to phones via Bluetooth; but somehow that only makes me admire JCDecaux a little bit more

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