NYC Subways Start Using Square And Ribbon LCD “Live Cards” In Rail Cars

January 14, 2022 by Dave Haynes

Hat Tip to Paul Fleuranges, a board exec of the Digital Signage Federation (and a very smart, experienced guy looking for the right new gig), for passing along this information and video of new digital signage screens running on the NYC subway system.

He notes via Linkedin:

Took my first subway ride of the new year on the #7 Flushing Line and walked into a car outfitted with OUTFRONT Media Live Cards. Outfront has deployed the FHD resolution screens in two sizes. The Rack Card or overhead screens are 50” x 10” while the Premium Square screen is 20” x 20”. There are two sets of each screen type installed inside the car in a staggered format, one on each side, in addition to traditional static posters. Each set is made up of six overhead screens and one square screen.

The screens are running on the Broadsign CMS platform and allow NYC Transit to dynamically display public information and delay messaging, while providing brands with the opportunity to reach and influence subway riders along their daily journeys. All of this content can be uploaded remotely. During my brief ride the screens only ran agency COVID messaging on a loop.

To date more that 2,000 Live Cards have been deployed in subway cars that operate on the #7 and multiple other lines. More are being added as part of the overall Outfront rollout of digital screens in the NYC Subway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad.

Mass transit passenger areas have always seemed a high opportunity environment for digital advertising, EVEN WITH people tending to stare at their smartphones or shoes while riding. The challenge, for the longest time, has been getting costs down and reliability up on the display gear. It is one thing to fix a screen on a wall on a platform, and quite another to put one in a moving rail car that is subject every day to 18 or 20 hours of vibration, bumps, grime and all kinds of bad weather.

What’s particularly interesting to me are the use of custom shapes to fit the rail car – the ribbons over the windows and the squares on side walls. In the last three-four years, display manufacturers like AUO have developed the processes and equipment to natively manufacture screens in shapes other than rectangles – as opposed to manufacturing rectangles and then a second company cutting out the size/shape they need and re-manufacturing these new speciality screens. Expensive and prone to flaws. These new ones, because they are natively made, cost less and can be engineered to the need.


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