Digital billboards in New York City's Times Square are generating giant profits for building owners, according to an article on wsj.com. The trapezoidal building that supports the New Year's Eve ball drop sits mostly vacant, but thanks to digital signage, rakes in more than $23 million a year in revenue.
Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. pays $3.6 million a year for a Dunkin' Donuts digital sign that often shows photos of fans who send images to the company's Facebook page. Anheuser-Busch InBev pays $3.4 million a year for a sign that shows close-ups of icy bottles of Budweiser and other brands, the article reported.
Along with rents from a Walgreen store on the bottom three floors, those sums give the otherwise empty building an appraised value of $495 million, according to the loan documents cited in the article.
"We've been very happy with it," said Michael Phillips, chief operating officer at Jamestown Properties, an Atlanta-based company that bought One Times Square in 1997 for $117 million.
Jamestown's success in turning One Times Square into such a profit-generator reflects the rising value of advertising in the iconic NYC neighborhood. More than 100 million pedestrians pass through the area a year, the article reported, with foot traffic at key intersections up about 90 percent since 1996.
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