Mall in Oz applies simple formula – big space=big screens

September 24, 2009 by Dave Haynes


As far back as 10 years ago I was walking around shopping malls with colleagues and business partners trying to sort out how a screen network would set up in usually caverrnous, visually busy environments.

Back then I was thinking the only way something would get noticed and be worthwhile if it was one big screen, like a Sony Jumbotron, that shoppers couldn’t help but notice. The problem, of course, was that the cost and quality of big LED boards made that whole notion somewhat deranged.

That’s changed. Consider the case of the Westfield shopping mall, which is putting very large LED boards in three malls down under.

Westfield has launched Australia’s first in-shopping centre, large format digital advertising network into three of its top centres, reports Inside Retailing.

Westfield Bondi Junction in NSW, Doncaster in Victoria, and Chermside in Queensland now feature large format LED video screens offering interactive advertising opportunities for both retailers and brands.

A second screen will be added to Bondi Junction in the coming weeks, with roll out to other flagship centres in Australia expected over the next 18 months. The video screens will go live with launch-partner creative campaigns from 28 September.

Each LED video display is doublesided, allowing wide in-centre visibility in high traffic zones, with screens ranging in size from 25sqm to 40sqm. The largest of the installed screens has 400,000 pixels per screen side 

The LED boards are made by US-based Daktronics and the software platform is not mentioned.

The screens, including all advertising schedules, materials and content will be programmed and centrally controlled from the Westfield BrandSpace office via a Web based content management system. Westfield can also view what is displaying on all screens in real-time with the use of web cameras at each site.

The screens are already strongly booked through the end of this year, which might owe something to the numbers of people that pass through the malls. 

More than 7 million shoppers make 37 million shopping visits to Westfield centres each month, accounting for 33 per cent of all consumer expenditure in Australia. 

As LED boards get both less costly and better (HD quality pixel pitches are now possible) you will see more of this. The biggest malls have massive printed vinyl banners suspended on walls and in atriums. If removing the ongoing printing and installation labor costs, along with the opportunity to sell more ads on one “face” show this is a better way to go, this will be just like the evolution of highway billboards. The one wild card here is that other technologies such as rear projection might also be a player as lamp lives improve. 

Most of what’s in malls now are pedestals and wall frames replacing illuminated posters that were already there. Those have a role in malls, but it is this sort of thing that really amps up the environment and has impact.

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