Digital billboards may soon be seen in Allentown.
The human resources, administration and appointments committee of Allentown City Council approved a resolution for digital billboards to be presented to City Council.
The resolution describing the proposed agreement between the City of Allentown and Premier Media was originally developed in 2009 and was laid out in the Strategic Marketing Plan.
When representatives from the city were moving forward with this plan, they had three companies interested in funding the project. All three companies were taken on a drive through the city as representatives were looking for beneficial locations for multiple digital billboards. Premier Media was the only company involved in this tour of Allentown that presented the City Council with a contract proposal. As of March 20, 2012 RFP 2011-24 was awarded to Premiere Media, LCC.
The contract proposal that was presented to the Committee at their meeting on Wednesday night is for a 15-year agreement with the option to renew for two additional five-year periods.
The billboards are to be used primarily for advertisement purposes, but also have the ability to present the residents with Amber Alert notifications and other emergency information.
The billboards will all have a direct connection to the communication department of City Council, so when appropriate, Allentown residents will be informed of any and all emergency situations.
According to the resolution presented to the committee, the benefits of entering in an agreement with Premier Media include “increased revenue to the city; improve the quality of life and image of the communities served by the city; and provide the city access to major brand advertising companies as well as local businesses that are interested in local marketing partnerships and sponsorships.”
Although the agreement seemed mostly positive, one committee member was not satisfied.
Council Member Jeanette Eichenwald questioned the Premier Media representatives about the job opportunities that will be presented to the residents of the city.
Premier Media mentioned that they were willing to put in their contract that they would look for local companies to build and work on the electrical details of these billboards. Although this would create job opportunities for the residents of Allentown, the average time needed to make each billboard operational is approximately seven to nine days.
The committee was also concerned with the financial burden placed on the city if these billboards were to fail.
Premier Media is responsible for selling all advertisements shown on the billboards and they will be funding the entire project. They plan on selling advertisements for around $1,000 per advertisement per sign per month. Allentown will be receiving around 20-25% of the revenue, which is estimated to be $44,000.
Premier Media is taking on all costs associated with the project and Allentown will not be financially responsible if the billboards do not begin to produce revenue as expected. If this is the case, Premier Media will have to decommission the sites of the billboards but will not charge the city.
Currently the project is in phase 1 and three billboards will be erected throughout the city during this phase. The billboards will be placed on West Hamilton Street, MacArthur Road, and Lehigh Street. These billboards will have no animation, flashing lights, or noises to minimize distractions to drivers.
The committee approved this resolution unanimously to be brought before City Council at their next meeting.