Volume 92, Issue 12

Wednesday, September 23, 1998



Jumbo billboard is jumbo free

Michael Longstaff/Gazette

By Mark Brown
Gazette Staff

Move over TV Western and make way for the atrium's electronic billboard – the newest way of keeping students informed.

The Billboard, which was installed last Saturday in the Unviersity Community Centre, is a display advertisement but its primary use will be for internal purposes. It will not be as obtrusive as external billboards, said Jim Walden, general manager of the University Students' Council.

It is unclear if The Billboard will become a permanent fixture of the atrium, Walden said. "It's a proposal from an outside vendor and it will be there long enough to work with it a bit and develop the concept."

The Billboard or FRED is on loan from Digital Display and Communications Inc., Walden said. It could be supplied free of charge to the USC to use for community messages while the company would supply the commercial advertising, he explained.

One of the areas being examined is the relation to TV Western and to the information on TV Western, Walden said.

It is not duplicating the service provided by TV Western, said Mario Circelli, manager for TV Western and CHRW. "TV Western is interested in working with anyone or any technology that would help us with distribution," he added.

Western was chosen because it is a very populated area, said Rob Cressman, who is in charge of special projects for DDC.

"We would provide the equipment free of charge," Cressman said. The cost of the equipment and its operation would be paid though the sale of advertising time on the board, he added.

"We don't want to skew the proportion of time between the advertisement and the community information," Walden said.

The USC was interested in the project to serve as a different medium for delivering information, he added. More information will be going onto The Billboard and the USC wants to incorporate live video as well.

Although the test project has just begun, Cressman said he envisions an even split between community messages and advertisements. He added the FRED system would cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of $75,000 if the USC was to purchase one of its own.

"It is kind of neat," remarked Said Ismail, a third-year electrical engineering student. "I think it is fairly useful – it is easy to spot, but I am not sure it fits in the UCC."

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Copyright The Gazette 1998