The growth that the sector has presented digital signage in public spaces, has created a challenge for governments that must regulate the issue without affecting the development of a growing industry.

Richard St.

During the months of November and December 2015, the authorities of public space in the city of Medellin, Colombia, withdrew 22 screens that the company Publik had installed in high traffic areas of the city from almost 40 years ago.

- Advertising -

This measure was taken as ordered by a judge who ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by a company of cartelería fixed in the same city, in which he claimed the protection of the right to public space, the environment and administrative morality. The judge gave the reason because the city has no regulations for the installation of LED digital signage Shields and public space.

This situation of the company Publik and lack of clear regulation on the subject in Medellin, even though the company paid a cost of monthly rent per screen and the 50% of the content was relevant information for the city, it has on the table the need for norms that allow cities to adapt quickly to technological developments and without affecting investments in companies that see these advances a business opportunity.

From this case, we looked how other cities in Latin America have handled the regulation for the installation of digital signage in public spaces. The cases found are varied, each country is different and has approached the subject from different points of view, considering the visual and light pollution, distraction for transit, protection of public space and architectural heritage. In many cases not be based on technical knowledge.

Regulations affecting growth
In 2010 it was issued Outdoor Advertising Act for the Mexican capital, which included a special addition to digital signage. Among 2010 and 2015 that law was amended several times, despite the audiovisual industry that has been affected due to the technical parameters that are not in line with the realities of the sector.

The Mexican Association of Digital Signage Office has appeared in the issue in order to seek to approach lawmakers to find ways that the law be modified by changing the parameters that are affecting. Cristial Mecalco, the company who makes Kolo and active part of the Association, told AVI LATINOAMÉRICA that although the law has good intentions, is made without planning, creating obstacles affecting the industry and slows their growth.

The regulations issued in the Mexican capital is comprised of the Act and its regulations. According to the statement by Cristian Mecalco they include aspects that go against the digital world, such as the type and timing of advertisements, including some static for two minutes and give 10% of airtime to government announcements.

In addition, there singnificativas differences between what the law says and what he says the regulation, which makes it impossible to comply with both at the same time, generating possible breaches in the worst case could end with the removal of the screen by the authorities.

Some of the items that go against the audiovisual industry in the Mexican capital are:

Article 4. The ads may be installed with or without illumination, but in the case of the first course the level of direct lighting the announcement may be up to 800 luxes provided their reflection motorists and pedestrians does not exceed 50 luxes.
Electronic lighting to motorists and pedestrians screens, may not exceed 50 luxes.
Holders of permits and licenses should incorporate the use of LEDs for lighting ad.

Article 31. V. If the building contase with a marquee, billboard may not exceed the size of it;
VIII. In no event may include billboards electronic displays.

Article 44. Unipolar ads autosoportados allowed in advertising brokers may contain bulletin boards, electronic displays or advertisements optical projection, neon or virtual.
In the case of unipolar autosoportados ads, the shape and material of the support column will be determined by the license holders and approved by the Secretariat.

Article 49. VII. The fence may contain billboard, electronic display, and in general, any other advanced technology, but in no case Volumetric ads.

To achieve better regulation, the Mexican Association of Digital Signage is setting up a technical group to seek an amendment to this standard and in turn can advise legislators. To this end it has approached the institutions responsible for the care of architectural heritage, who have played an important role in the generation of the Act.

Cidade Limpa, outside screens
Another case in Latin America was San Pablo, Brazil. The first of January 2007 came into effect Clean City (Lei Cidade Limpa in Portuguese) Act, the local government issued order to sort the landscape of the city, banning outdoor advertising and regulating the size of warnings and Dashboards in stores.

In his article 18, the law prohibits outdoor advertising, so companies dedicated to digital signage in the city saw reduced to the interior spaces of buildings growth options of a rising business and in many cases migrated to other Brazilian cities in which they could develop their activity.

After Publik lived in Medellin, local authorities said list have regulations that regulate digital signage in the city, which would be issued in the month of December 2015. But this is a pending task of the new local government that took office on January first 2016.

The cities in Latin America are learning about a new subject in which more and more players, because many companies are migrating their fixed advertising to digital signage installations. So best to avoid headaches is to consider the regulation of each city before installing a digital billboard.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Journalist from the University of Antioquia (2010), with experience in technology and economics. Editor of the magazines TVyVideo + Radio and AVI Latin America. Academic Coordinator of TecnoTelevisión & Radio.


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