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Outdoor LED Screen Advertising Terminology and Glossary
Outdoor LED Screen Advertising Terminology and Glossary

Challenged with learning all the crazy terms and definitions of Outdoor? Our easy to use glossary can help.


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30-Sheet Poster
A standardized poster format, typically measuring 12’3" x 24’6". 

8-Sheet Poster
A standardized poster format, typically measuring 6’ x 12’. 
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The number of units required to achieve a desired GRP level in a market. Traditional poster panel showings consist of a quantity of illuminated and unilluminated displays that will vary by market size and population. 

Alternative Media
Outdoor formats that do not fall into the categories of: billboards, street furniture or transit. Most alternative media is used to create customized solutions for advertisers. 

The distance measured along the line of travel from the point where an advertising unit first becomes fully visible to the point where the copy is no longer readable. 

Audited Circulation
The certification of traffic circulation. The Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB) independently audits records and circulation data for outdoor advertising according to established national procedures approved by the buyer and seller community. 
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Bi-Directional Diagnostics
Two-way communication between a display and its controller. Bi-directional diagnostics assist in pre-maintenance, maintenance, and troubleshooting. 

Large format advertising displays intended for viewing from extended distances, generally more than 50 feet. Billboard displays include, but not limited to: 30-sheet posters, 8-sheet posters, vinyl-wrapped posters, bulletins, wall murals and stadium/arena signage. 

Display area which extends beyond the Live Copy Area, often to the edge of the finished size. 

The largest standardized outdoor format, typically measuring 14’ x 48’ in overall size. Sold either as permanent displays or in rotary packages. 
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Measuring and adjusting both the color and the intensity of individual pixels to ensure image consistency across the entire display. 

Cancellation Period
A specified period of time when a contract can be terminated. 

Candela (cd)
(can dell' ah) a measurement of directional light intensity from a point source. 

Center-To-Center Spacing
The distance between the center point of one pixel and the center of an adjacent pixel on a video or message center display. Also know as pitch. 

Character Height
Height of the largest letter that can be displayed on a message center; height of a seven-pixel high character according to center-to-center spacing (e.g., 3.0" center-to-center spacing x 7 pixels = 21" character height). 

The process of selecting and scheduling individual unit locations to maximize outdoor advertising objectives. 

A measurement of traffic volume in a market. 

A grouping of LEDs that act as a single pixel. 

Color Accuracy
Conformity or exactness of color match, clarity and accuracy within the individual primary color groups of red, green and blue. 

Color Shift
The angle of viewing off axis where the slightest change in pixel coloration occurs. 

Color Temperature
The degree of hotness or coolness of a color, measured in degrees Kelvin. If a video display is said to have a color temperature of 7,000° Kelvin, for example, the whites have the same shade as a piece of pure carbon heated to that temperature. Low color temperatures have a shift toward red, and high color temperatures have a shift toward blue. The standard white for NTSC in the United States is 6,500° Kelvin. 

The elimination of gaps in a media schedule by maximizing the duration of a campaign, ideally 52 weeks. 

Contrast Ratio
Ratio between the brightness or intensity measurement taken when the screen is displaying a blank video signal and a full, white video signal. This ratio determines the readability of the display so as to measure "depth" of an image or as a measure of how well the image can be seen in high ambient light. 

Computer or computer-type device used to program and operate digital displays. 

The sharing of advertising costs between a manufacturer and distributor or dealer. 

Artwork displayed on an outdoor unit. 

Copy area
The viewing area on an outdoor unit. 

The boundaries of a market, the percentage of a county or counties exposed to an outdoor advertising campaign or the reach of the panels purchased. 

CPM - Cost Per Thousand
The cost of reaching one thousand advertising exposure opportunities in a market. 

CPP - Cost Per Gross Ratings Point
The cost of advertising exposure opportunities that equal one gross rating point in a market or one percent of the population. 

Creative Brief
Detailed marketing objectives that pertain to the design of an outdoor campaign. 

C-Store Display
Point-of-purchase displays, typically the same format as transit shelter posters that are positioned at the entrance of convenience stores. 
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Daily Impressions
Also called DEC. The estimated number of persons passing an outdoor location on an average day. 

DEC - Daily Effective Circulation
The average number of persons passing and potentially exposed to an advertising display for either 12 hours (unilluminated - 6:00am to 6:00pm) or 18 hours (illuminated - 6:00am to 12:00 midnight). 

Demographic Profiles
Audience breakdowns based on various characteristics such as age, sex, income and education. 

Changing the brightness of a display, or the capability of increasing or decreasing the overall display intensity. The brightness level should be highest during the day to compete with daylight, and lower at night. 

Display Period
The interval of exposure when an outdoor advertising campaign is viewed. 

A mode of message transition on an LED display accomplished by varying the light intensity or pattern, where the first message gradually appears to dissipate and lose legibility simultaneously with the gradual appearance and legibility of the second message. 

The strategic placement of outdoor units across a market. 
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The degree of value delivered to an audience relative to its space cost. Usually expressed as either CPM (cost per thousand) or CPP (cost per gross rating point). 

Letters, figures, mechanical devices or lighting that is attached to the face of an outdoor unit to create a special effect. 

Emerging Media
Recently developed or introduced outdoor formats. 

Expected Lifetime
Anticipated length of use for an LED. The expected lifetime of an LED is measured at the point when the sign has degraded to 50 percent of its original intensity. LEDs have a typical expected life of 50,000 to 100,000 hours (as specified by the manufacturer). 

The reasonable opportunities for advertising to be seen and read. 

An area of copy made as a cut out that falls outside the basic restraints of a bulletin or premiere panel face. 
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The surface area on an outdoor unit where advertising copy is displayed. A structure may have more than one face. 

The cardinal direction that an outdoor unit faces. As an example, a north facing bulletin is viewed by vehicles traveling south. 

A mode of message transition on an LED display accomplished by varying the light intensity, where the first message gradually reduces intensity to the point of not being legible and the subsequent message gradually increases intensity to the point of legibility. 

Poster paper unattached or torn from a bulletin or poster panel face. 

The length of an advertising campaign, sometimes divided into distinct segments over the course of weeks. 

A static display screen on an LED display, or a metal attachment around the edges of a poster face. 

Frame Effect
A visual effect on an LED display applied to a single frame to attract the attention of viewers. 

The average number of times an individual has the opportunity to see an advertising message during a defined period of time. Frequency in outdoor advertising is typically measured over a four week period. 
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Gamma Correction
A process used with video images to correct brightness and internal micro-contrast within the image. Gamma correction allows a change of ratio between the brightest red component and weakest red. 

Gross Impressions
The sum of impressions registered against a target audience based on a GRP level of days or weeks in a schedule. 

GRP - Gross Rating Point
The total number of impressions delivered by a media schedule expressed as a percentage of a market population. One rating point represents a circulation equal to 1% of the market population. 
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An outdoor unit equipped with lighting that provides night time illumination of an advertising message, usually from dusk until midnight. 

The number of people who have an opportunity to see an ad in a given period of time. 

Also called brightness. The LED industry measures display intensity in candelas per square meter, which is also referred to as nits. 
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LED Brightness
The brightness level of an LED is measured in milli-candelas. The materials used to manufacture the LED determine the brightness of the LED. 

LED Degradation
The standard method used to express the life of a display is the time it takes to reach 50% of its day one brightness. 

Light Detector
Also called light sensor. An electrical component used to detect the amount or level of ambient light surrounding a display. If dimming has been set to "AUTO," the light detector or sensor adjusts the intensity of the LEDs accordingly. 

Line Of Sight
The simultaneous viewing of more than one outdoor unit. 

Location List
A listing of all locations included in a specific outdoor program. 
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Mall Displays
Backlit advertising structure located at strategic points in shopping malls; usually two or three-sided. 

Media Audit
A provider of syndicated local market consumer data, measuring most major U.S. DMA’s. Categories surveyed are consumer retail shopping behavior, product consumption, media usage, lifestyles behavior and all demographics. 

Media Mix
The combination of media types used together to meet the objectives of a media plan. 

Milli-Candela (mcd)
One thousandth of a candela. 

Mobile Billboard
A truck equipped with one or more poster panel units. The truck can either be parked at specified venues or driven around designated localities. 
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Net Reach
The total number of persons within the target audience exposed to the advertising schedule, often expressed as a percentage. 
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Official Counts
The traffic counts taken from official (governmental) sources such as city, state or county departments of transportation. 

Off-Premise Sign
A sign that advertises products or services that are not sold, produced, manufactured or furnished on the property where the sign is located. An outdoor display is an off-premise sign. 

On-Premise Sign
A sign that advertises products or services that are sold, produced, manufactured or furnished on the property where the sign is located. 

OOH - Out Of Home
All advertising specifically intended to reach consumers outside the home. 

The term refers to any form of media that carries advertising messages to consumer audiences outside the home. Outdoor products are divided among four primary categories: billboards, street furniture, transit and alternative media. 

The continuation of an outdoor advertising program beyond a contracted period. An override, if offered by an outdoor company, is provided at no additional cost to an advertiser. 
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Permanent Bulletin
A bulletin that remains permanently located at a specified site throughout the term of a contract, usually for long periods. A permanent bulletin program can build strong brand recognition in specific market areas. 

Photoelectric cell; the light-sensitive component within a photosensor. The actual device might be a photodiode, a phototransistor, or a photoconductive cell. It is important to make a distinction between a photocell and a complete photosensor device. A photocell might be any device in which light controls the electron emission from a cathode, the electrical resistance of an element, or the electromotive force produced by a cell; it is usually incorporated in an electric circuit and used in mechanical devices such as door openers or home outdoor night lights. 

All the outdoor advertising units in a market that are operated by a single company. Sometimes the term refers to the outdoor company itself. 

Poster Panel
An outdoor unit that can accommodate 30-sheet or 8-sheet poster displays. 

Posting Date
The date when a poster program is scheduled to commence. A five day leeway is customary. 

Posting Instructions
Detailed directions provided to an outdoor company by an advertiser or agency assigning specific copy to specific locations. 

Posting Window
A window of five working days after a scheduled posting date in which all contracted locations can be posted without penalty. 

Premiere Panel
A standardized display format, typically measuring 12’ 3" x 24’ 6" in overall size. Premiere panel units offer the impact of a bulletin by utilizing a single vinyl face stretched over a standard 30-sheet poster panel. 

Premiere Square
A standardized display format, typically measuring 25’ 5" x 24’ 6" in overall size. The premiere square utilizes a single vinyl stretched over two stacked 30-sheet poster panels. In some markets, this same technique can be applied to stacked 8-sheet poster panels, typically measuring 12’ 6"x 12’ 1" in overall size. 

An in-market field check of available panels to determine locations for a specific GRP/showing. 

Certification by an outdoor company that contracted advertising services have been rendered. 
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The approximate percentage of a target audience’s population which will be potentially exposed to an advertising message at least once during a specified period of time. Reach is normally measured over four week periods. 

Refresh Rate
The number of times per second the screen is updated or "repainted." Depending on the video standard, the actual image is changed only 30 times per second for NTSC signal or 25 times per second for PAL. However, most LED systems use pulse-width modulation to generate the color levels, and if the image were only "painted" once for every change, there would be a noticeable flicker on the display. A refresh rate of greater than 60 times per second will minimize the flicker. In general, LED displays should be refreshed at 120 times per second (120 Hz) or greater. 

Remote Control
Control of a display from a remote and/or central location via a communications network. 

The physical inspection of the units that comprise an outdoor program in a market - either pre-buy or post-buy. 

Rotary Bulletin
A standardized 14’ x 48’ bulletin moved to different locations in a market at fixed intervals, usually every 60 or 90 days, to achieve greater reach in the market. 

A horizontal line of pixels; in print graphics, a horizontal line on a table 
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The color intensity of an image. A 100% saturated color does not contain any white; adding white reduces saturation. An image without any saturation is also referred to as a grayscale image. 

A mode of message transition on an LED display where the message appears to move vertically across the display surface. 

A group of two or more frames that may consist of words, graphics or animation that are grouped together under one name. It may range in size from a few frames up to a hundred or more. 

A level of delivery that directly relates to the population of the market. Typical showing levels are: #100, #75, #50 and #25 GPR/Showings. The number of panels involved in an actual showing varies by market depending on the total market population and the average DEC of the market’s inventory. 

Any structure used to display information regarding a product or service. An outdoor unit is a sign. 

An adhesive strip that is used to cover a portion of copy displayed on an outdoor unit. 

A bulletin that is usually larger than 14’ x 48’ and is positioned at a prime location in a market. A spectacular often utilizes special embellishments. 

Spotted Map
A map showing all locations included in a specific outdoor program. 

Standardized Unit
Outdoor units constructed in accordance with the specifications established by the OAAA. 

Street Furniture
Advertising displays, many that provide a public amenity, positioned at close proximity to pedestrians for eye-level viewing or at a curbside to impact vehicular traffic. Street furniture displays include, but are not limited to: transit shelters, newsstands/news racks, kiosks, shopping mall panels, convenience store panels and in-store signage. 

Surface Arterials
Major streets in towns or cities that carry a heavy flow of vehicular traffic. 
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Target Audience
The profile of the most desired consumer prospects for a product or service, listed by characteristics such as demography, lifestyle, brand or media consumption and purchase behavior. 

Traffic Audit
The third party verification of traffic circulation in a market. Traffic audit information is used to calculate outdoor advertising DEC figures. 

Traffic Count
The recording of the vehicles and pedestrians passing a given point; used by TAB to authenticate the potential exposure of outdoor advertising structures. All counts are verified by the TAB. 

Traffic Origin
Research which provides advertisers with information about the audience passing outdoor advertising structures, not just those in immediate vicinity of the individual location. Collected license plate data are correlated with residence data and demographics to pinpoint the origin and destinations of persons having potential exposure to outdoor advertising. 

Transit Displays
Displays affixed to moving vehicles or in the common areas of transit terminals and stations. Transit displays include, but are not limited to: bus panels, train/rail panels, airport panels, taxi panels and mobile advertising signage. 

A visual effect used on an LED display to change from one message to another. 

Transit Poster (bus)
Posters attached to the exterior of buses. Common displays are king panels, queen panels and tail panels. King panels are on the street-side of the bus. Queen panels are on the curb side of the bus. And tail panels are on the back of the bus. 

Transit Poster (commuter rail)
Posters displayed in commuter rail stations and on trains. 

Transit Shelter
A curbside structure located at regular stopping points along urban bus routes. 

A mode of message transition on an LED display where the message appears to move horizontally across the display surface. 

An outdoor unit with a slatted face that allows three different copy messages to revolve at intermittent intervals. 

Tri-Color Chip
A discrete LED package containing the three colors (RGB) forming one pixel. 

TRP - Total Rating Point
Also called GRP (Gross Rating Point). The term refers to the total number of impressions delivered by a media schedule expressed as a percentage of a market population. 
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Unilluminated Unit
An outdoor unit that has not been equipped with lighting for nighttime illumination of an advertising message. The DEC for an unilluminated unit is calculated using a 12 hour viewing period. 

Any outdoor advertising display. 
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A single-sheet substrate on which an advertising message is rendered by computer production. Vinyl is primarily used on the face of bulletins & premiere products. 
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Murals painted or attached directly onto the exterior surface of a building. 

The distance in a periodic wave between two points of corresponding phases. The LED's wavelength determines its color. 

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