Contractors have started work on a project that will light up New York’s Times Square even more.
TSX Broadway, as it is known, will be a “branded beacon,” 46 floors of retail, entertainment and accommodation. The building, on the corner of 47th Street at Broadway and Seventh Avenue, currently houses a DoubleTree Hilton hotel and the landmark Palace Theatre, which will be restored and lifted 30 feet to accommodate an experiential retail outlet.
Upper floors will have a performance stage over Times Square, a restaurant with large terrace and a hotel with more than 600 rooms.
According to David Orowitz, a senior vice-president at developer L&L Holding Company, the entire building will be like a giant advertisement for one of the most-visited places in the world, with around 380,000 pedestrians walking through it each day.
“The whole building is essentially (an advertising) sign, and the side that is facing Times Square is a single sign comprised of LEDs into the building itself that runs up the entire 46-story building,” he said in an email to CNBC.
Now that preparation for the demolition of the hotel is under way, executives are at work finding an advertiser that will help it recoup some of the $2.5 billion it has raised for the new building, set to open in early 2022. And it has hired Andrew Essex, a former ad exec and CEO of the Tribeca Film Festival, to negotiate a deal with a single customer to advertise on the behemoth, including the naming rights to the building, the retail and entertainment spaces and the billboards.
“It’s part Super Bowl, part experiential mega arena, part center of commerce, part social network,” Essex told CNBC by phone, adding that he expects to have a deal signed this year.
It would have to be a brand that has the right entertainment value, Essex added. “Events must become more eventful, otherwise people stay home and watch Netflix, ” he said. “So what does it take to get people out of the house today?”
Project mock-ups show a retail space with multiple floors, one of which shows an Apple-like store, though Essex would not comment on discussions.
The company isn’t disclosing the value of any deal, but naming rights alone tend to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. The rights to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and host of this year’s Super Bowl, are reported to have cost the auto maker $324 million over 28 years, for example.
Naming rights for venues are nothing new, but this deal is different because it likely includes retail and performance spaces, Essex said. “The entire superstructure, the retail space is fungible. So could one have an esports arena? Can the stage be indoor (and) outdoor? Can you broadcast or stream directly? There’s quite literally no limit to what’s possible, because nothing is already purpose-built,” he said.
Marketing veteran and CNBC contributor Mike Jackson said his approach would be to look for several partners. “I could see them trying to get partners like Apple or Amazon or one of the telecoms to really maintain a huge presence … as things like 5G (high-speed mobile communications) come on board to deliver that integration of the retail space with the advertising platform, as well as the ability to use that broadcast venue in the theater, ” he told CNBC by phone.
“If I’m … Apple, I don’t want to just buy signage or sponsorship. I literally have to think long term, because I’ve got to believe that that building is going to have a huge innovative presence for the next 20 to 25 years,” said Jackson, principal of consulting firm 2050 Marketing and CEO of vehicle services company Motus One.
Data and 5G
Data will be an important part of the tower, and with 5G integration, more complex ways of advertising become possible. Location-tracking technology that serves ads to people after they’ve left a store is already used by retailers.
For Dave Etherington, chief commercial officer at Place Exchange, a programmatic exchange that automates the buying and selling of digital outdoor media, it’s a move forward for hitting people with advertising when they’re outside their homes.
“Traditional out-of-home media companies (are) now playing a much more … active role in thinking about physical spaces in the way that they work with venues and cities (and) in the way that brands can help fund experiences,” he told CNBC by phone. “It’s not unusual to see the Facebooks, the Googles, the Spotifys using out-of-home as the main channel for their branding.”
Retailers want to entice them to shop in the brick-and-mortar world. Makeup brand Cover Girl, for instance, opened a flagship Times Square store on Black Friday 2018, with the goal of creating “the ultimate shared beauty experience,” according to an online release.
But with many people abandoning malls to shop online, Jackson is concerned about whether TSX will be able to attract a high-end retailer. “The thing that scratches my head is … obviously the foundation of that is going to be to fill the retail space with the high-quality brands that would also have the wherewithal, both from a financial standpoint as well as from a creative standpoint, to do something innovative in retail.”
Anne del Castillo Named New York City’s Commissioner of Media and Entertainment
The film and TV industries in New York City have a new boss: Anne del Castillo, who has been tapped by Mayor Bill de Blasio to serve as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
Del Castillo had served as general counsel and chief operating officer of MOME since 2015. She succeeds Julie Menin, who left the post in February after nearly three years to become Census Director for the city. Del Castillo had been acting commissioner since Menin’s departure.
“Media and entertainment are central to New York City’s economy and identity. Anne has the vision and experience to continue to strengthen the industry during this time of unprecedented growth and change,” said de Blasio. “Her commitment to diversifying our entertainment sector and piloting innovative programs will ensure New York continues to be the media capital of the world.”
At MOME, del Castillo will oversee all activity in the city related to location shooting, tax incentives and the city’s growing focus on diversity and inclusion programs designed to open doors for film and TV employment opportunities to a broad range of New Yorkers. MOME’s charter also extends to the music, Broadway, advertising and other media sectors active in the city.
In all, media and entertainment account for some 305,000 local jobs and economic output of $104 billion, per the Mayor’s Office. Given the rapid growth of lensing in New York during the past 20 years, the MOME commissioner has influence in Hollywood as well as in the five boroughs.
“This is an exciting time for our agency to engage a broad cross-section of industry, community and other key stakeholders to advance an inclusive, sustainable and thriving creative economy that benefits all New Yorkers and reflects the diversity that defines our city,” del Castillo said.
Under Menin, expanded from supporting the film, TV, and theater industries to supporting the music, publishing, advertising and digital media industries as well. MOME also encompasses NYC Media, the City’s official broadcast network and the Office of Nightlife.
That office — and the institution of former bar owner Ariel Palitz as the city’s first “nightlife mayor” — was one of Menin’s signature initiatives as commissioner, along with an outreach program for the city’s music industry, which included a hearing involving some 75 organizations and companies that do business in the city. Menin was also involved in the city’s hosting of the 2018 Grammy Awards, the first time in 15 years the ceremony was held in New York.
Del Castillo joined MOME in 2014 as director of legal affairs. She was closely involved in the creation of the Made in NY Women’s Film, TV and Theatre Fund, which is has begun to distribute $5 million in grants to women filmmakers and playwrights.
Before that, del Castillo was VP of development and business affairs at American Documentary, producer of PBS’ “POV,” and she worked as associate director of the Austin Film Society, where she administered the Texas Filmmakers Production fund.
“We applaud Mayor de Blasio for his selection, we welcome Commissioner del Castillo, and look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the great staff of the Mayor’s Film Office,” said Dee Dee Myers, executive VP of worldwide corporate communications and public affairs for Warner Bros.
Del Castillo’s work in the arena of diversity and inclusion makes her well-suited to her new role.
“We have had the privilege of working with Anne on a number of projects, including the innovative Made in New York Writers Room fellowship, which is advancing the careers of talented television writers whose backgrounds and voices reflect the diversity of the city,” said Lowell Peterson, exec director of Writers Guild of America East. “Anne and MOME are great partners to an important industry and we look forward to continuing to work together.”
World War Z Launch Suffers with Connectivity Issues, Server Problems and Bugs
World War Z launched yesterday, but its first day on the market didn’t exactly go smoothly. Players have reported numerous issues such as multiple failed attempts to connect to the game’s servers and problems during gameplay that halts progression.
The biggest issue at launch appears to be a lack of servers for players to join, meaning that the game is only playable in an offline state. For an online-focused co-operative title, this is quite clearly a major issue. To developer Saber Interactive’s credit though, it looks like the team is trying its best to get more servers up and running to alleviate the problem.
What may take a little more time though are the bugs and glitches that have been brought to light. Personally speaking, we haven’t been able to finish the game’s first chapter yet because the game freezes and doesn’t conclude the level correctly. Other players have reported jittery movement, a “Loading Game Logic” message that crashes the game, and being unable to play with friends in different regions.
Dish to Game of Thrones fans: ‘You’ll need to subscribe to HBO Now’
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan and a Dish or Sling TV customer, you’re going to need to subscribe to HBO Now if you want to watch the April 14 premiere of the hit TV show’s final season.
Since Nov. 2018, Dish and HBO have been involved in a dispute which has left the premium TV network blacked out for Dish subscribers. Sling TV, Dish’s streaming platform, has been affected by the dispute as well.
As a result, subscribers to either Dish service have been unable to subscribe to an HBO package through their TV provider.
With the long-awaited final season of Game of Thrones premiering on Sunday night, the satellite television company is directing its subscribers to sign up for HBO Now.
Dish has even gone so far as to set up a website explaining to its customers how to subscribe to HBO Now, which it calls “similar to Netflix.” HBO Now is HBO’s standalone streaming television service, so it doesn’t require a cable or satellite subscription. Dish doesn’t receive any compensation for sending its customers to the HBO Now service, though the company obviously benefits by keeping its customers happy.
As of April 2019, the Dish-HBO standoff is in its fifth month, with neither company close to a deal as far as anyone on the outside knows. The channel blackout on Dish is HBO’s first in its history.
Negotiations stalled between the TV service provider and the premium TV network over a “carriage fee” dispute. Dish claimed in a 2018 statement that HBO’s parent company, AT&T, wanted “a guaranteed number of subscribers, regardless of how many consumers actually want to subscribe to HBO.”
As of now, it looks like the dispute between HBO and Dish will continue long after winter comes on the final season of Game of Thrones.
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