Biggest, clearest, costliest digital billboard on Times Square to begin display

The world's largest high-definition digital display lights up for the first time in Times Square in New York on Nov 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: NYT
The world's largest high-definition digital display lights up for the first time in Times Square in New York on Nov 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: NYT

NEW YORK - A digital billboard, touted to be the largest and most expensive, will go up in Times Square on Tuesday night, to captivate audiences with one the biggest displays in the tourist-friendly area.

Standing eight-storeys tall, the screen is nearly as long as a football field, the New York Times reported, and spans the block from 45th to 46th Street on Broadway - the centre of the Times Square "bow tie".

The display will be made up of nearly 24 million LED pixels, giving it a higher resolution than the best television sets, costing a whopping US$2.5 million (S$ 3.2 million) a month for advertisers to use the space.

"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 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.

Each day, more than 300,000 pedestrians enter the Times Square "bow tie" where billboards are a large part of the attraction. Rates for displays can vary widely, depending on location, size, duration and screen quality, among other factors, ad executives said. A survey found that about eight in 10 people in the area say the signs and adverts add to its appeal.

A digital art exhibition by the critically acclaimed Universal Everything studio collective will animate the screen from Tuesday night until Nov. 24, when Google will take over as the exclusive, debut advertiser with a campaign that runs through the New Year, the report in New York Times said.

Google declined to divulge the details of its new advertising campaign. But it certainly is not the first to go big. LG Electronics recently created a campaign on a record-breaking billboard near the King Khaled International Airport in Saudi Arabia. At 820.2 feet long and 39.3 feet tall, that sign is the largest in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.