It should come as no surprise that Clear Channel Spectacolor has chosen to debut a new, state-of-the-art digital billboard in New York City's Time Square. The company already owns and operates a number of the huge digital screens, as well as a network of smaller LCD screens at many of the subway entrances across New York City.
According to the official press release, "the new billboard branded 'Spectacolor HD' will boast the sharpest image quality of any digital billboard in the U.S. while also being the most technologically advanced. Spectacolor HD will be the first digital billboard in the world to run multiple advertiser spots in conjunction with streaming news, weather and live HD broadcasts provided exclusively from CNN, the most trusted source in news and information."
I think this is genuinely one time when the "that's awesome!" factor that advertisers usually use on younger, more impressionable audiences may work with adult audiences as well. I work in NYC, and I've seen the billboard up close and it looks great. It's enough to make even the most skeptical of adult media consumers stop and gawk at least for a little while, and in Times Square that's no small feat considering there are tons of ads fighting for your attention.
This really is a great combination of quality technology and great content that gives something back to the viewer. The news feed from CNN and the weather updates are two features that people passing by will find genuinely useful, and as a result they'll be more likely to actually notice the ads displayed on the screen too.
Of course, the question of measuring effectiveness once again enters into the equation. In this case, there may not be much of a problem for Clear Channel because their technology is so far ahead of what's out there that they can charge a premium for ads placed on the screen. Thus, they'll almost certainly be able to meet their ROI targets. As for the advertisers... well, at this point I'll bet they're fighting each other for exposure on the new platform. Yes, it looks that good.
One other thing to consider is how much these displays cost, and whether or not they can start expanding into other metropolitan areas (Las Vegas, Chicago, Philadelphia, etc.). Although, even if they carry a hefty price tag (which I'm sure they do) as long as the response from advertisers and even viewers remains positive, my guess is that we'll be seeing more of these outside of the Big Apple sooner rather than later.
Tags: electronic billboards, digital signage, out-of-home advertising, Clear Channel