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Mumbai may soon get Times Square-like digital billboards

The policy is yet to be approved by civic chief Ajoy Mehta.

mumbai Updated: Nov 22, 2017 16:26 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Digital Billboards,Advertisements
Digital billboards at New York’s Times Square.(iStock)

Remember seeing electronic billboards at New York’s Times Square in movies? Mumbaiites may soon get to see similar digital billboards as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to revise its policy on hoardings to allow their installation in the city.

The civic body considered to allow replacement of existing billboards or hoardings with digital ones after representatives of Mumbai Hoarding Owners Associations suggested it. The policy is yet to be approved by civic chief Ajoy Mehta.

The civic body has also decided to implement the decision in phases to see the response.

The billboards will first be put up at public places like Juhu beach and various areas in Bandra on a trial bases. According to the plan, the existing hoardings will be replaced with LED screens which will display static ads, while hoardings near highways will be the same.

The civic body will also issue live updates and warnings during natural disasters and emergencies through these digital billboards.

The policy will be made public in mid-December after which the BMC will set a time frame to invite suggestions and objections from citizens, said the officials.

Civic officials said the trials will involve static ads only and then will move on to animated ads.

A senior official said, “The representatives had suggested that the hoardings be first put up at specific places to see the response. These digital billboards will not be put up near highways in order to avoid untoward incidents as they serve as distraction for motorists. We are working out details of the policy.”

The BMC is planning such policy after 10 years. Currently, the hoardings and billboards are largely made of printed flexboards or other synthetic material.

The city has around 2,000 billboards and hoardings on public and private properties which were put up by private contractors who get pay a premium for them to the civic body.

As of now, the hoardings have flexes that have to be replaced time and again, however, with the digital billboards, the advertising agencies will be able to change ads in every 10 seconds.

One of the controls of the billboards will be with the agencies and the other will be with the civic body to monitor these advertisements.

Khalid Batliwala, president of Mumbai Hoarding Owners Association, said, “We have received a positive response from the civic body to our suggestions of digital billboards. The authority was also open to our suggestions for creative elements to be implemented to make Mumbai look more attractive.”

The corporation may revise the hoarding policy and issue new guidelines to control the existing disorganised illegal hoarding, banner and poster situation in the city.

The civic officials said unrelated banners and posters celebrating birthdays, festivals and events will also be brought under control.

In addition to this, the new policy will also revise the existing rates for advertisements.

A senior civic official said, “These advertisements in the city can be a great source of revenue for the civic body. We aim to change the entire advertising perspective of the city.”

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 16:26 IST