TIMES SQUARE BEHEMOTH
Category : Billboard News
There are digital screens and there are DIGITAL screens. Large and small digital screens proliferate our world but attention spans are increasingly scarce. Even still, some companies are making a huge bet that one of the biggest digital displays on Earth will capture audiences and make big returns.
The gamble? Check this out: The largest and most expensive digital billboard in Times Square will light up the street on Tuesday night.
The new screen stands a whopping eight stories tall and is almost as long as a football field! In fact, it is as long as the entire block from 45th Street to 46th Street on Broadway. They call the center of the Times Square the ‘bow tie.’ The display has 24 million LED pixels! Giving it a higher resolution than even the best of today’s top-of-the-line television sets.
And it costs more than $2.5 million for a four week contract. That makes the megascreen one of the most expensive pieces of outdoor ad real estate on the market. A digital art exhibition by the acclaimed Universal Everything studio collective will begin the life of the screen on Tuesday. After-which, Google will take over and advertise on the screen through the New Year.
The screen covers an entire city block. Now that’s huge!
“Size matters in Times Square,” said Harry Coghlan, president of Clear Channel Outdoor New York, which is selling the ad space. Last week, as he stood on the corner of 46th Street and Broadway watching test images of skiers and fashion models illuminate the new display, tourists turned their heads to look at the sign, their jaws actually dropping.
“Sometimes it just comes down to wanting to stand out, and it comes down to ego,” he said.
Every day, more than 300,000 pedestrians are estimated to enter the Times Square ‘bow tie,’ where Seventh Avenue intersects with Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets. New Yorkers typically breeze through, their heads in their phones, but the location is a tourist attraction and the billboards are a part of the attraction. Plus, the attraction is broadcast across the globe during New Year’s Eve celebration and others alike.
“People go to the Grand Canyon to see the most visually stunning natural canyon in the world. They come to Times Square to see the most digitally striking canyon in the world,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance.
“The signs really are part of the culture, part of the fabric of the excitement of this city,” Mr. Roth said. “And, by the way, we are in it for the money, and they are an interesting part of our business.”
One of the oldest forms of advertising, billboards are attracting new attention as digital displays allow for new levels of real-time interactivity. Marketers increasingly are deploying new social media and mobile components that allow viewers to engage in activities like broadcasting their faces on a billboard or downloading coupons because they walked past an ad.