The Sunderland City Council cabinet this week approved the purchase of a concession contract for the supply of large screens throughout the region.
This will involve the financing, purchase, installation, maintenance and management of advertising for the technology across the city.
The recommendations also provide for authorizing council heads to take all necessary measures to conclude a concession contract with the operator selected for a period of five years.
City council cabinet secretary Councilor Paul Stewart noted that the local authority already shares ownership of an existing screen attached to St Mary’s parking lot.
He added that more large digital media advertising screens (LDMAs) would provide many benefits to the region and the council financially.
Cllr Stewart said: “The investment in LDMA displays will provide a valuable communication channel for the board and potentially other partners to be able to share important messages with residents and visitors to Sunderland.
“More generally, they will create a notable welcome to Sunderland at geographically key points, signifying the common vision of the council and its partners for a dynamic and lively place.
“In addition, the board will also receive a revenue stream from the net advertising revenue generated by the LDMA screen.”
Examples of when the signs would be used include “major events or when more urgent public health or public safety lines need to be communicated”.
A cabinet report added that the success of the existing screen has been “significant” and having more in the city will extend those benefits.
Cllr Louise Farthing, cabinet member for Children, Learning and Skills, added that she believes screens will be an attractive proposition for advertisers.
She said: “I am delighted, and I myself have noticed the screen on the side of St Mary’s parking lot quite frequently, you notice it.
“I’m sure advertisers will want to be featured on these types of electronic billboards across town, and I look forward to the revenue stream they will generate. “
Under the proposed model, the board will work with the successful bidder to identify viable sites and advertising opportunities.
They will then co-invest in the initial purchase and installation costs of the screen at each selected site, and will receive a share of all advertising revenue generated by the successful contractor.