Giant Outdoor TV ads On the Way
People living inside giant TV sets
by Jean Lotus

Imagine looking out your apartment window and seeing gigantic television commercials, a mile away. Thatís what local residents in Phoenix, Toronto and Los Angeles have to look forward to as these city governments are welcoming giant new building developments plastered with obnoxious digital signage that can be seen for miles.

Just as economists are predicting the crash of a commercial real estate bubble, city governments are welcoming these giant new building developments, often in depressed parts of town.

In Phoenix, a new complex near the sports arena will have, "giant Times Square style ads snaking up towers higher than neighboring buildings and rows of electronic display screens that obscured the entire top floor of one structure, " according to the Wall Street Journal.

In Torontoís Dundas Square, a pedestrian gathering spot, walkers will be overwhelmed by a steel advertising tower 232 feet high that will broadcast 20,000 square feet of digital advertising signs.

In Los Angeles, a new four-million square-foot development near the Staples Center will feature offices, entertainment, hotel and -- a giant digital advertising wall.

Nationally, office vacancies are already high, and these mega builders seem to be covering their costs by covering their buildings in "advertising skins." Emboldened by First Amendment challenges to billboard bans, these builders know they can always get advertising money if the ads can be seen for miles-- even if they can't get tenants.

Will these buildings end up empty husks covered with ads? It has happened to the world-famous No. 1 Times Square building in Manhattan, (where the ball drops on New Yearís eve). "Who needs pain-in-the-butt tenants," says Brian Turner, owner president of Sherwood Outdoor, "when youíve to the largest sign tower in the world." . Nineteen floors are vacant and a Warner Brothers store sits on the bottom three floors. Twenty-six advertisers pay between $40 K to $250,000 per month each for signs.

We can bet that once the signs go up, no power on earth will get rid of them, even if the buildings are vacant.