Monday, 30 October 2017

1997: Big Screens for central Sydney

Times Square in New York is famous for its array of advertising billboards and big screens screening television broadcasts and animations.

In the 1990s, Sydney City Council explored the idea of permitting big screens to show advertising but also broadcast major events like the Olympic Games.

Source: Skelsey, M. 1997. "Hole lot of sense to video", The Daily Telegraph, December 26: 15. 

But I recall the idea was ditched because motorists would be "too distracted" by the activity. Interesting though. In Times Square, the traffic flows smoothly and chances are people if distracted might stop their cars altogether.

Above: The Yellow M&M is unhappy with the lack of attention given by motorists at 1600 Broadway, New York (Times Square). Drivers are doing the right thing keeping their eyes on the road!!!

I've seen footage from September 11 taken at Times Square and cars did stop for a few seconds for people to see the graphic footage that was shown on the ABC (America) big screen.

But really the main audience is the pedestrians and keep in mind, that no street corner was destined to become like Times Square with billboards on every square inch of space. It was merely going to be one screen at each location.

With the corner of George and Park Street, it was assumed that the site was going to remain undeveloped by the Olympic Games in 2000 (2 Park Street was in fact almost finished). Whether or not they were going to incorporate it into the structure. Who knows?

Had they become reality, they might have been short term with the intention of dismantling them after the Olympic games. It had been proposed in a December 1998 article in The Daily Telegraph, that it would be there for 2001. The screen would be 7.5 metres by 4.5 metres.

Downtown Sydney has tended to be a billboard free zone on city buildings. Even today, it is like that. In Sydney, they are restricted to the motorways, major highways and around Sydney Airport.

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