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Current Events in Digital Signage: Google and Time Square

Times Square now has the largest outdoor screen in the world.

Google plans domination of outdoor New York ad space this new year.

On Tuesday night the largest LED screen in the world went live in New York City’s Times Square. Standing eight stories tall, spanning the entire block from 45th Street to 46th Street on Broadway and boasting nearly 24 million LED pixels, this screen has better resolution than any TV available to the public.

With an estimated 300,000 visitors a day, this is the most watched location on New Year’s eve. It’s no surprise that the price tag to advertise on this new space is 2.5 million dollars a month.

Which is why it is also no surprise that technology giant Google is taking over the space in three days’ time. A digital art exhibition will animate the screen from Tuesday night until November 24, when Google will take over as the exclusive, debut advertiser with a campaign that runs beyond New Year’s day. They are sure to get the biggest bang for their buck because of the unique nature (and size) of the billboard as well as the timing of its release. Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 8.35.43 PM If you’ve ever been to Times Square you know that the billboards are an unavoidable if not charming part of the appeal. You can’t help but marvel at the sparkling lights and pageantry involved with showcasing the of different brands and products. Even if your brand gets a landslide of attention with Time Square placement,  the billboards there compete against each other for the attention of the passersby. Can your brand stick in a spectator’s mind after they have looked at hundreds of blinking lights and screens? An advertiser needs something extra to really make a mark. The largest LED screen in the advertising world could very well be just that thing.

According to the president of Clear Channel Outdoor New York (the company selling the ad space), “Sometimes it just comes down to wanting to stand out, and it comes down to ego.”

I couldn’t agree more. Google has always displayed both of these qualities, and although they refuse to comment on whether they paid the 2.5 million a month, we know they can afford it. And let’s face it, with 1 million people actually in Times Square, and over a billion worldwide watching on TV, the reach that google will get this New Year’s day will be incalculable. If you compare numbers you will see that Times Square has global exposure to an audience nearly ten times the size of the SuperBowl. I just hope that Google created a truly eye catching ad to be displayed there.