20 May Times Square buildings one-up each other with flashy LED signs
New York Post May 20, 2019
They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway. But for retailers, it’s innovative LED displays that get top billing along the Great White Way.
The LED wars started when One Times Square, also known as the “ball drop building,” plastered new signage over its north façade in 1996.
Some complained the stacked oversized TV screens distracted drivers, but they brought in big bucks — some $12 million a year. Plus, their displays were so easily changeable that they could give any brand or person 15 minutes of fame — and, indeed, they do.
The website BigSignMessage.com, for example, will rent space on several prominent Times Square billboards from five to 15 minutes or more starting at about $35. But LED screen pricing in the area can skyrocket into the millions for an exclusive billboard. Besides video player capabilities, some screens include livestreaming and interactive effects.
That’s why rather than planning and creating “spectaculars” — the memorable giant Coke bottle and Camel smoke ring ads of the 20th century — buildings quickly swapped out neon for screens.
Today, that signage and top retailers make Times Square an entertainment mecca in the world’s shopping capital.