Piccadilly Circus billboards could be replaced by a £30m mega-screen


Posted on Oct 10, 2016

The six advertising hoardings at the landmark Piccadilly Lights are to become one giant screen, which could be sold for £30 million a year.

London’s equivalent to New York’s Times Square launched more than a century ago. Since then it has become one of the world’s most exclusive advertising hoardings.

Now Land Securities, which has owned the Piccadilly Circus site since the Seventies, has won planning consent to replace the six existing screens with one huge state-of-the-art interactive screen, which analysts expect to attract the world’s biggest brands.

More than 70 million pedestrians walk by the Piccadilly Lights each year, with another 30 million driving past.

With each of the six screens worth more than £4 million a year, advertising analysts estimate the chance to dominate the site completely could be worth as much as £30 million.

Lorna Tilbian, media analyst at Numis Securities, said: “A mega-size hoarding is worth much more than six hoardings. You can safely say this is the billboard equivalent of the Super Bowl — prime ad space in the busiest bit of the world’s leading global city.”

Land Securities said: “We are working with experts in new technologies and out-of-home marketing to completely reposition this iconic site, giving advertisers innovative ways to interact with the two million weekly passers-by.”

But analysts said the move to one big screen could take time, as existing clients such as Coca Cola — which has advertised there since 1955 — could have long-term leases. 

Water company Perrier was the first electrical advert on the site, in 1908.  Since then the lights have shone almost continuously, turned off only for the Second World War, for the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill and Princess Diana and more recently to mark Earth Hour for the WWF. 

In 2002, Yoko Ono paid more than £100,000 for her husband John Lennon’s quote “Imagine all the people living life in peace” to be illuminated for three months.