The saying goes that Piccadilly Circus is the one place in the world where, if you stand long enough, you'll meet everyone you've ever known. It's small wonder, then, that it's famous for its wall of light-up adverts, which sit in some of the primest eye ball real estate going. To get the most out of the landmark, site owner Land Securities will switch off the six existing screens in January so they can be replaced by a single high-resolution LED screen that will be the biggest in Europe.
Land Securities says the new screen will have the same curved shape as the so-called Piccadilly Lights advertisements that have adorned the Circus for over a century, but will be far more flexible than its predecessors, which relied on incandescent bulbs, neon tubes, digital projectors, and complex mechanical apparatus. Instead, the screen will be divided digitally into six full-motion sections that can be shared with different customers, or entirely taken over on occasion by a single brand.
The 4K screen will be 17.56 m (57.61 ft) high, 44.62 m (146.39 ft) wide, and cover 784 m2 (8,439 ft2). Its LED system connected to high-speed fiber WiFi will produce trillions of colors and handle live, interactive video streaming. When it's up and running, it will not only be able to display adverts, but also weather, traffic reports, sports results, stock prices, and Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds.
Land Securities says that 62-year resident Coca Cola is already on board as a customer, as is Samsung and four other unnamed global brands. Piccadilly Lights will remain switched off until the last quarter of the year. This is the longest time that the Circus has gone dark with previous outages, aside from power cuts, being the blackouts during World War II, during the funeral processions of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965 and Princess Diana in 1997, and annual Earth Hour observances in recent years.
"This is a unique milestone for Piccadilly Lights, which has provided a visual home for much-loved brands for over a century. London is one of the world leaders for digital and technological innovation, and Piccadilly Lights is leading the way, engaging with global brands, global citizens and of course the local community," says Vasiliki Arvaniti, Portfolio Manager at Land Securities.
During construction, a banner will carry advertising for the site.
Source: Land Securities