Thursday, September 24, 2009

Finally, an Easy Way to Dominate Times Square

VIA Ad Age
NEW YORK ( -- Securing prime outdoor advertising real estate just got easier. Clear Channel Spectacolor, the digital signage arm of the company's outdoor division, unveiled Times Square Domination, which will aggregate ad sales for five of the New York location's largest digital billboards. Clear Channel pulled together sign owners Spectacolor, Nasdaq, Reuters, News Corp. and ABC Sports and Entertainment to cooperate and sell the signs together.

"Buying all these signs at one time has been effectively impossible," said Tom Hennigan, president of P.R.omotion, the company that will lead the ad sales of the Times Square consortium, which also debuted a new website.

The growth and competition among digital billboards comes amid the decline of static signage in Times Square, which has seen ad rates plunge anywhere from 15% to 25% in recent months, with less turnover between campaigns.

Ryan Laul, managing director for Hyperspace, a media agency that buys digital out-of-home for Motorola, Schick, CVS and other brands, said more clients have moved toward digital billboards in Times Square because of the creative flexibility and shorter lead-time to secure inventory.

"Digital display technology allows you to sync up campaigns so that all the signs work really well together," he said. "In some cases you may want to buy every screen for one full, dedicated hour, or 200 minutes a day and spread it evenly, or two minutes an hour. It allows us to really dominate an area for a product launch or a timely event."

Not for everyone
Ray Rotolo, senior VP-managing director of Havas' Chrysalis, cautioned that Times Square as a market isn't always the best place for some clients. "The clutter factor is becoming a major issue for some," he said. "But we've tried roadblocking before, and for some clients it's worked. [The Times Square Domination] changes the game because there's audio involved, and it's become almost a live opportunity to interact with the people that are there. The question now is, how can we really creatively look at this and make it work the best for us?"

A buy across Times Square Domination's five screens, based on current rates, would likely run well into the $500,000 to $750,000 range, according to buyer estimates, although terms of deals under the new unit have yet to be discussed, Mr. Rotolo added. Pricing in the area has also gotten more competitive with the recent addition of major digital billboards at Walgreen's on 43rd Street and Broadway and the American Eagle sign on Broadway and 46th Street.

The Times Square audience (565,000 daily visitors, 47 million annually) also tends to spend more time in the area with the recent renovation of the last-minute Broadway ticket seller TKTS booth on 47th Street and Broadway, and the closing of the area to car traffic.

Another addition soon to come is the Times Square Network, a new cable-esque programming network Spectacolor will debut in 2010 on its digital video screen above the W Hotel.

Michael Steinberg, Spectacolor's VP-sales and marketing, said the network will feature news updates from current editorial partner CNN and fully sponsored original programming, including entertainment news, cooking segments and a tentative series profiling one of the the neighborhood's notorious personalities, the Naked Cowboy.

"We want to have out-of-home advertising become a destination in New York," Mr. Steinberg said.

Spectacolor President Harry Coghlan was also open to testing the digital billboard ad-network approach to other markets such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles, should the initial results in Times Square pay off. "It's a portable concept that could work with technology as a backdrop," he said.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Maybe The Supreme Court Wants To Weigh In On This One

This usdcsdny.pdf was sent to me regarding the Clear Channel and MetroFuel case with the city of New York. I did a little research and with the help of a friend, found out some simple facts that I think the readers of this site will find interesting.

MetroFuel-Urban Panel

So the story begins when MetroFuel sues LA after LA attempts to get the illegal wall panels MetroFuel operates removed. MetroFuel wins this initial battle and cities across the state afflicted by the same blight recoil and put off cases of their own against the company. LA then appeals this decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and wins. The rest of the country awaits anxiously for MetroFuel to request a rehearing of the Appeal. This second go at the same appeal is what we have been anxiously waiting for and it seems they have been denied their request. That's good news for everyone.

So why haven't those pesky illuminated Urban Panels begun disappearing as a result of this rehearing request? It's my understanding because we are at the last step, the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court decides to hear this case we will obviously be watching closely and reporting diligently.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Graffiti's Still Not Your Friend?

Graffiti can often be seen at the lower edge of outdoor billboards as artists attempt to reuse the prime real estate the advertising industry has paid handsomely for. This image in particular works nicely, the play on who is watching who as well as the complete erasure of the movies opening dates as well as other pertinent information transforms the ad into a unified piece. Courtesy of, REVOK at at at

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Billboard Blight: A Gallery Of Shame

People have been commenting that removing outdoor advertising from the public environment would result in a huge loss of jobs for the city, something we can't afford right now. In the short term this is true, but reading a post on Ban Billboard Blight reminded me that a healthy city is far more important than a few short term jobs. In response to the potential job loss, BBB writes.

"Perhaps the question to ask these companies is what they do to harm the visual landscape of the city, and how this makes it a less desirable place to live and do business, and what that means for jobs and the economy"

VIA Ban Billboard Blight

At last week’s City Planning Commission hearing on proposed revisions to the city’s sign ordinance, representatives and lobbyists representing behemoth corporations like Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor argued that stricter regulations
on outdoor signage would harm the city’s economy and result in the loss of jobs, although they offered no facts or figures to support these assertions. Perhaps the question to ask these companies is what they do to harm the visual landscape of the city, and how this makes it a less desirable place to live and do business, and what that means for jobs and the economy.The billboards in the photos belong to Clear Channel, CBS Outdoor, and Lamar Outdoor (formerly Vista Media). Want to let them know what you think? Send an e-mail to the following:

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Supergraphic Signs: Are They Fire Safety Hazards? Councilman Says “Yes”

The language used by many anti billboard and general advertising blight advocates is troubling to me. I am well aware of the fact that in our culture a legal battle is often more immediately effective in the removal of outdoor advertising than a discussion about the negative consequences, to ourselves, and our city environment. The problem is these efforts remove outdoor advertising only to see it re-posted in the same location at a later time, or moved to another place entirely. In order to fully reform our city space to function for those people who live in that space, residents must understand their relationship to the city public and what that space should offer them. I help produce the illegal billboards website, which locates un-permitted illegal signage in New York, but as far as I'm concerned all outdoor advertising is illegal.

Via Ban Billboard Blight

Almost a year ago, city building inspectors raised this issue at a meeting of the Board of Building and Safety Commissioners.

These huge signs wrapped over the entire sides of buildings and covering windows could impede firefighters in an emergency, they said. And because almost all the signs have been put up without permits or inspections, they added, there isn’t any way to know if the material or manner of installation meets fire safety standards.

Now, City Councilman Jack Weiss wants the fire department to conduct sweeps to identify hazardous supergraphic signs, and get them immediately removed. At a press conference yesterday on Wilshire Blvd. with a huge supergraphic as a backdrop, Weiss also said he would introduce an ordinance to ban unsafe materials and installations.

“Supergraphics are going up all around the City and the advertising they carry has blocked views and architecture, but today we know that some of these supergraphics also are blocking escape routes and posing a safety hazard for people inside,” Weiss said.

A Fire Department official estimated that there are 90-100 such signs now installed on buildings throughout the city. Because these signs fall under the city’s 2002 ban on new off-site advertising signs, a number have been cited by building inspectors, but one sign company, World Wide Rush, sued the city and this past summer obtained a federal court injunction against enforcement of the ban.

The city council just this week received a communication from City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo regarding a closed-door meeting for a “settlement discussion” in that case. By now, everyone knows that the settlement Delgadillo negotiated with Clear Channel and other billboard companies in 2006 has turned out to be disastrous for the city, so stay tuned.

Weiss Press Release

KABC-TV video

World Wide Rush v. City of Los Angeles.

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