Electronic outdoor screens and the developing countries

Chief editor - Vladimir Krylov
Deputy chief editor - Michael Nikulichev

I bet you have never heard about Astana. This is a new capital of Kazakhstan, formerly one of the Soviet Republics. 10 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and 7 years after the transfer of its capital from Alma-Aty, Astana stands as an unusual and most interesting city on the map of the changing world.

Less than 10 years ago this was a small township in the steppe in the middle of nowhere. It used to be called Akmolionsk, was renamed to Tzelinograd, then to Akmola, finally to Astana. Imagine a small township in the Wild West from some typical Western movie – and you know what Astana looked like only recently. And then a miracle happened. The President decided to shift the capital to Astana and the magical transformation started. The only parallel that comes to mind is the construction of Las Vegas in the USA.

So, here you are: a thoroughly modern town with its share of high-rises, steel and concrete, modern architecture reminiscent of sights in New York, San Francisco, San Paolo, Sydney. However, our magazine is not a Discovery Channel – we are not interested in promoting new tourist spots. Our prime interest is advertising, especially on outdoor electronic screens. And this is what Astana is now famous for.

The city authorities embarked on an ambitious project of making a beautiful town and decided to incorporate outdoor advertising into the general architectural concepts of the city from the very beginning. The result is a balanced, well-planned approach to making the city attractive, bright and glittering, especially at night time. Even the old “unpresentable” buildings are professionally illuminated and acquire a festive look.

Importantly, lighting systems used in the city are diverse and modern. There is no “oversaturation” of advertising boards as it happens in most capitals of the world – and there are no “black holes”: the illumination of central and residential areas is almost uniform, festive and cheerful. The multicolored lights are soft and soothing to the eye.

Huge screen for outdoor advertizing in Astana (Kazakhstan) Huge screen for outdoor advertizing in Astana (Kazakhstan)
Huge screen for outdoor advertizing in Astana (Kazakhstan)

Astana was the first city in the region that started implementing a prestigious project of “Outdoor Video” in its streets. An ideal place was selected for the installation of a huge electronic screen on the main city avenue. Large physical dimensions 9x12 meters allow the screen to be seen from large distances. Thus, potential audience of the outdoor screen is enormous. All eyes turn to the screen from distances over 500 meters.

Astana can be unbearably hot or freezing cold but the sky remains cloudless most of the time. As a result, the bright sun would “blind” any electronic outdoor system that is not specifically created for such adverse conditions. But the outdoor screen in question provides perfect images throughout the day.

December 10, 2001, is a memorable day in Kazakhstan. It’s the 10-th Anniversary of Independence which is celebrated with all the pomp and pageantry of the eastern festival. Needless to say that the city was illuminated to the utmost and the electronic outdoor screen strategically placed downtown was the focus of celebrations.

Outdoor electronic screens are getting more and more popular. Professionalism and good planning are an important part in the overall successful utilization of this expensive but very profitable equipment. Electronic outdoor screens are good not only for the affluent capitals of Europe and North America but are in demand throughout the developing world.