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Digital signage opens up Times Square to 'the little guy'

According to today’s Wall Street Journal, “Times Square, the nation’s mecca of slick advertising for corporate behemoths, is increasingly a showcase for the little guy.”

The article explores how the growth of digital signage and digital billbaords in New York’s Times Square has made it affordable for smaller firms to buy shorter-run ads on the square’s digital displays: where it would have been cost-prohibitive to buy space on old-style traditional billbaords, it has become affordable for companies to buy ad space on the constantly-changing digital faces.

“The way Times Square has developed, there’s a lower cost of entry,” said Alan High, president and general manager of Clear Channel Spectacolor, which operates billboards in the area.

In 1999, there was one digital billboard in Times Square; today there are more than 50, said Meric Adriansen, managing partner at D3, a company that engineers and manages signs in the square.

Many smaller businesses that don’t have big advertising budgets can buy short time slots on digital boards for a fraction of the cost of renting a vinyl one. While rates for both vinyl and digital boards vary widely depending on size and location — from an estimated $10,000 to $325,000 a month — a slot on some centrally located digital boards sells for as little as $30,000, compared with $50,000 or more for a similar vinyl board, said Michael Steinberg, vice president of sales and marketing for Clear Channel Spectacolor.

The WSJ also points out  that non-profit organizations are being offered empty slots for free or at much-discounted rates, and that the recession has driven down rates for the billboards as well.

Learn more about digital billboards or DOOH advertising.

digital signage opens up Times Square to 'the little guy'