Germany’s Largest Digital Billboard Operator Making Its Own LED Screens

April 3, 2023 by Dave Haynes

The biggest player in Germany’s out of home advertising sector is taking the intriguing step of developing its own LED billboard products to address energy saving needs and lengthen operating lifespans.

Ströer operates about 1,800 roadside LEDs and expects to almost double that within three years. With energy costs and green initiatives now a major business consideration in Germany and across the EU, German language content partner invidis reports that the company, which has some 300,000 ad faces (most of those print), has an in-house project developing a new generation of digital advertising media displays.

From the invidis post:

LED on the side of the road is therefore becoming increasingly important, because in the future a single DooH LED will replace several analog billboards. This is how you want to counter the social discussions about too much advertising in public space.

However, digital out of home systems – especially outdoor systems that are suitable for use in sunlight – are sometimes viewed critically because of the power consumption and use of resources. This is where Ströer comes in with a new, self-developed LED generation.

No one in Cologne (head office) wants to reveal too much about the LED of the future, but the current sustainability report already provides a first insight. After the end of the test phase, the new generation of roadside screens (RSS) should be rolled out from the second half of 2023.

With the new RSS, Stroer relies on lifecycle management, eco design, circular economy and recycling. From the selection of components, maintenance during operation to disposal. “The goals are a significant reduction in energy consumption, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the avoidance of waste and a long service life.”

In the future, Ströer will no longer rely on turnkey solutions, but on a flexible LED solution made up of selected components. So far, Ströer has not commented on the suppliers in more detail, but it can be assumed that the individual components will be supplied by well-known manufacturers.

The optimized selection of components such as LED modules, drivers, power supplies or circuit boards should significantly reduce power consumption under different lighting and location conditions.

All newly installed LED modules have the same external dimensions – probably 55-inch cabinets – and can therefore be used for any screen format.

The final assembly of the components is to take place directly at Ströer service providers in Germany. This saves time-consuming warehousing, reduces CO 2 emissions during transport and saves costs. It is not yet known to what extent previous partners such as Ledcon or Daktronics are involved.

Repair instead of replacing – the repairability of the LED panel in particular should be easier to do in the future. Instead of throwing away a defective pixel card, it should be possible to replace individual LEDs in the future.

Comprehensive remote monitoring should make fewer service calls with vehicles on site necessary.

This is interesting. Companies that are in the business of finding prime real estate and navigating local laws and permitting, and the selling advertising, are not necessarily going to be all that good at optimizing electronics. But if you have the size and resources, I suppose a media company is just as capable of getting contract manufacturing done to a spec as a display manufacturer that designs product but gets it made in Asia. Alongside green initiatives, this would also give Stroer direct control of product development, and theoretically (at least) cut out some costs.

I’ve heard of some media companies developing their own management software, but it’s uncommon, at least, to see a media company wade into the display hardware business. Amscreen did it years and years ago, but those were small LCDs in UK retail.

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