LinkNYC DOOH Ad Totems Set For $20M In Upgrades

April 2, 2024 by Dave Haynes

The widely-deployed LinkNYC digital OOH ad network on the sidewalks of New York City has had a spotty business history since it was launched a decade ago, culminating with a New York state audit noting in Sept. 2021 revenue and build-out shortfalls. But there is evidently enough confidence in the media model that $20 million is being invested to upgrade the screen network.

Network operator LinkNYC and OOH media partner Intersection have pushed out PR announcing “striking upgrades to enhance both the style and functionality of the iconic 2,000 kiosk street furniture network.

The investment includes introducing new, next-generation high-brightness Liquid-Crystal Displays (LCDs) for the kiosk’s advertising screens. In addition, ad screens will feature upgraded computers to support enhanced programmatic, dynamic digital, and video advertising formats. Units will also receive revitalized exterior casing to improve the kiosks’ overall appearance, look and feel.

“LinkNYC has seamlessly woven itself into the fabric of New York City life, fostering connectivity and public engagement that transcends technology,” says Nick Colvin, CEO of LinkNYC. “These improvements to the Link assets support our commitment to enrich New Yorkers’ urban experience with hyper relevant, real-time information, wayfinding, and connectivity.  This investment deepens the positive impact LinkNYC brings to our vibrant city.”

LinkNYC says its street totems enable the largest public Wi-Fi network in the world.  Each Link kiosk provides free superfast Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging, access to social services, and displays content such as real-time weather, transit info, public art, and local information. The city-wide network has more than 15 million Wi-Fi users and has connected more than 30 million free phone calls. All of LinkNYC’s services are completely free to users and taxpayers, provided by CityBridge, a partnership led by Intersection Media and Boldyn Networks.

“LinkNYC is New York’s premiere media property and the best way for advertisers and content providers to reach the entire city instantly,” says Chris Grosso, CEO of Intersection, LinkNYC’s content and advertising provider. “This facelift will ensure LinkNYC remains the clear leader in New York City’s media market.” 

The PR doesn’t spell it out, but I am guessing these are upgrades that were always baked into the operating model – as screens and enclosures degrade with time, particularly those out in the elements 24/7. $20 million across 2,000 units means about $10K per totem for pairs of high-bright displays and other gear.

The hardware refresh might also be obligated via contracts with local government, though I am also guessing with that.

I suspect five years out, with a subsequent refresh, that these will be fine-pitch LED, and not LCD. The costs and tech aren’t quite there, but getting close.

The provided photo is of a revitalized unit, so any changes to the look appears to be subtle.

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