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Advertising The Almighty Buck

Empty Times Square Building Generates $23 Million a Year From Digital Ads 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-your-money's-worth dept.
dryriver writes "Advertising things at the right place is proving to be a cash cow, as electronic ads earn about $23mn each year for an empty building at One Times Square – the iconic tourist destination in the New York City. A 25-story Manhattan office building that has long been empty keeps on bringing in millions to its owner as a billboard. Michael Phillips, CEO of Atlanta-based Jamestown Properties, bought One Times Square through a fund in 1997 for $117 million, as the Wall Street Journal reports. More than 100mn pedestrians pass through the square each year, which is 90% more than 16 years ago, says the Times Square Alliance, a non-profit business improvement organization. And this is what makes a price tag for having a company's name placed on the building the highest in the world, even above such crowded tourist destinations as Piccadilly Circus in London. Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. pays $3.6mn a year for a Dunkin' Donuts digital sign on the One Times Square building, with Anheuser-Busch InBev paying another $3.4mn a year for its advertisement. Sony and News America pay $4mn a year for a shared sign."
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Empty Times Square Building Generates $23 Million a Year From Digital Ads

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  • Profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by webmistressrachel (903577) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @07:49PM (#42407807) Journal

    If he's making a profit anyway, why not rent or give the space to local community groups / organisations?

  • Re:Profit (Score:1, Insightful)

    by iserlohn (49556) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @07:52PM (#42407825) Homepage

    Most likely due to tax exceptions for empty buildings.

  • Re:Profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @07:59PM (#42407889)

    People making 23 million a year for doing nothing at all do not share.

    And that's one of many reasons why we deserve the world we have.

  • mn? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mahju (160244) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @08:03PM (#42407913)

    Is it just me or when did "mn" surpass "m" for million? "100mn pedestrians" looks like it should be a measurement in milli-newtons per pedestrians - I'm sure the imperial equivalent is slugs per servants.

  • Re:Profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beamdriver (554241) <beamdriver@gmail.com> on Thursday December 27, 2012 @08:04PM (#42407917) Homepage
    The building would need extensive renovation for it to be suitable for use.

    Chief among these would be the addition of central air conditioning, but I would assume that a building that old would also need a good deal of electrical and structural work, asbestos removal, etc.

    At this time, the ads bring in more revenue than rent would, so there's no reason to invest the money.

  • Re:Profit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @08:05PM (#42407925)

    Paying taxes, maintaining the building, managing building permits, and maintaining the signage... doesn't sound like 'nothing at all' to me.

    Nor does it look like 'nothing at all'; doing no work would very quickly lead to a hazardous dilapidated shell.

    Ever consider he may not have tenants because no one would want to have 1,000,000 watts of light pouring into their office each and every day?

  • Re:Profit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @08:35PM (#42408077) Homepage Journal

    But the meme in the U.S. right now is that all the little guys don't do anything and basically don't even deserve enough money to live.

    I don't think there has been a time in U.S. history where people in the U.S. have believed the guy in the top shouldn't be paid the best, but right now as a country we seem to be believing the grunts aren't responsible for the success of these groups at all. At least that is what the CEOs are, as a class, believing. As a result many are saying that these people don't even believe a decent wage or deserve to share in the success of the companies they work for.

    And there are plenty of people... people that hang on every word of the CEOs like they're super human, that are willing to believe it. Slashdot seems to get more of the CEO worshipers every day and are happy with the idea that corporations should be able to screw over anyone they choose as long as there is a "benefit to the shareholders."

    And this article highlights another one... it's fine for a building to sit empty as long as some corporate entity is making money. The US has about 3 times the number of houses available then there are homeless people and many of those houses were obtained by the banks by nefarious means... but since a corporation benefits no one does anything.

    We've got problems with morals in the U.S... but not the moral problems we constantly hear about.

  • Re:Profit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @08:45PM (#42408135)

    If he's making a profit anyway, why not rent or give the space to local community groups / organisations?

    Maybe it is in need of significant upgrades given its age, an the insurance alone might make it unprofitable to rent or donate space to community groups.
    Besides, its not the best place for such groups, their constituents don't live there.

    Still, the story may not be totally true, as Google Streetview shows lights on in on the 8th floor and Chase bank still appears to have a branch on the ground floor.

  • by halivar (535827) <bfelgerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 27, 2012 @08:53PM (#42408177) Homepage

    How many spare rooms in your own house do you really need? One room, one person's life changed. Hop to.

  • Re:Profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @08:56PM (#42408185)

    Sitting on his money? You know this How?
    Nothing in the story indicates what he is spending his personal money on. For all you know he funds orphanages in East Timor.

    But its easy to make accusations on the internet isn't it?

  • by samkass (174571) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @08:57PM (#42408191) Homepage Journal

    The Curse of the Network Effect [slashdot.org] is obvious enough in real estate that there is an entire school of political economy geared toward a single tax on land value [wikipedia.org] -- a school most identified with the 19th century political economics author, Henry George [wikipedia.org].

    Again, the real solution is to stop taxing economic activity (capital gains, income, sales, value added, etc) and instead tax market-assessed liquid value of assets [blogspot.com].

    And, again, of course, not many people are going to really understand this idea so it must be demonstrated by those who do get it.

    That's why we need Sortocracy [sortocracy.org].

    The proposal you link to essentially removes all control anyone has over their own property. Everyone is, in effect, required to sell any property at any time to the highest bidder. That may be economically efficient, but it sucks on a day-to-day basis for real people. It's the "infinite frictionless plane" type of economist thought problem, not an actual solution to anything. The law would last about as long as it would take for grandma to be kicked out of her house.

  • Re:Profit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:08PM (#42408237)
    Buy him out, boys!
  • Re:Profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by otterpop81 (784896) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:10PM (#42408247)

    But the meme in the U.S. right now is that all the little guys don't do anything and basically don't even deserve enough money to live.

    _The_ meme. Interesting take on a country that just re-elected the most income-distributing president of all time. We know he didn't win on his economic record. He won on the same kind of class warfare talk that you're giving right now.

    right now as a country we seem to be believing the grunts aren't responsible for the success of these groups at all. At least that is what the CEOs are, as a class, believing. As a result many are saying that these people don't even believe a decent wage or deserve to share in the success of the companies they work for.

    How much is a "decent wage?" I hear people all the time talk about a "living wage" on here, but nobody puts a dollar figure on it. Give me something concrete. What should the high-school drop-out ditch digger (or whatever) who has learned no marketable skills make? What kinds of things should someone making a "living" wage be able to buy? What things are over the line? For example, how new a car, what kinds of food, cell phones, cable TV, how big of house or apartment? Should this "living wage" increase because people live in a certain area, or should we pay them more because they have a bunch of kids? I want to know what a "living wage" really means.

    Also, how much more should a person with a degree make than this base "living wage." I mean a real degree which enables someone to produce something of value. I'm talking about engineering, or science, or something medical (and there are plenty of others), not philosophy or communications or something that qualifies you to be a barista.

    And there are plenty of people... people that hang on every word of the CEOs like they're super human, that are willing to believe it. Slashdot seems to get more of the CEO worshipers every day and are happy with the idea that corporations should be able to screw over anyone they choose as long as there is a "benefit to the shareholders."

    Like the people here who worship Steve Jobs? I don't get CEO worship either, but I bet if you polled nationally, you'd find that most people _don't_ worship large corporation CEOs either. That said, I don't know what these people (most of them) do that commands the kind of money they make. No doubt many of them are _way_ overpaid, but I also bet you and I both have a lot to learn about what makes a large corporation tick.

    And this article highlights another one... it's fine for a building to sit empty as long as some corporate entity is making money.

    Who should be the one making it not-fine? Maybe you don't like it, but are you suggesting that there should be law that if you own a building that you should have to bring it up to modern code and rent out space? Do you have any idea what the condition of that particular building is? (I don't). Should there then be law about how much he should rent the space out for? What's your master plan for this? Don't just spout off about how evil it is that he makes a profit. Tell us what he should do, and tell us what you think the role of government is in this situation, especially with respect to private property rights.

    The US has about 3 times the number of houses available then there are homeless people and many of those houses were obtained by the banks by nefarious means... but since a corporation benefits no one does anything.

    Think so? I'm going to call for citation on that one. Again, what's your end-game proposal here? Should the government force the banks to let homeless people live in bank-owned houses? What's the government's role in this?

    I can tell you care deeply about the homeless. How many have you taken into your home to live with you? Should the government force you to take in homeless? So I guess it's fine for a room in your home to sit empty (or "spare") while

  • Re:Profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:15PM (#42408281) Homepage Journal

    He owns it. He presumably is paying his property taxes on it. Who are you, or who is anyone for that matter, to say what he should do with it? Unless of course you don't believe in private property ownership.

  • Re:Profit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by otterpop81 (784896) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:20PM (#42408301)

    The building is not only paid for in full but he could literally spend $50 million redoing the interior(the next ~two years of income) and then rent out the space for another 5-10 million a year.

    Should we make that law then? As soon as your building is paid for, you shall renovate it and rent it out? What if that's one of many other buildings he owns, the rest of which _lose_ money. What then?

    Liberals talk about how horrible it is to judge the social morality of others, but they have no problem doing it economically.

    It is what is wrong with the Republican Piss Down Theory. This guy is literally sitting on his money.It isn't really doing him as good as it should. If he was actually investing in that property I could see it but he isn't.

    The problem with your line of thinking is that if someone invests huge sums of money, time, and life, and makes a profit, they're evil and they should give that profit away, but if they take a loss, then well that's just their own fault for not being a better businessman.

    In NYC that location? he could be doing 50-100% more income on that property.

    I bet you could do 50-100% more on your own income. How many jobs do you have? Don't have your doctorate yet? That's what's wrong with personal liberty. Not everyone works up to their full potential.

    See how ridiculous it sounds when you try to tell someone what they should and shouldn't be doing with their own money and their own life? Get your own life, and don't judge the actions of other people based on 5 sentences you read in a slashdot summary.

  • Re:Profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mooingyak (720677) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:22PM (#42408311)

    Ever consider he may not have tenants because no one would want to have 1,000,000 watts of light pouring into their office each and every day?

    If he wants to rent the space, he'll find takers without much trouble. Also, as someone whose workspace is in Times Square facing said billboards, it's much better to be in the building with the ads on it than the building that faces the ads.

  • Re:Profit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mooingyak (720677) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:27PM (#42408329)

    I understood that to mean he's pissing away his corporation's money. As in, letting a building in one of the highest rent markets in the country lay unused. There's no way that building makes more money empty than it does with tenants.

  • Re:Profit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rgbrenner (317308) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:40PM (#42408379)

    sssshhhhhhhhh.. this is slashdot where citation-less posts with made up reasoning get +5.

  • Re:Profit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pollarda (632730) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:44PM (#42408393)
    This is New York City where if you rent or lease space, you are automatically the bad guy. Why rent or lease and incur the liability?
  • Re:Profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SydShamino (547793) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @11:38PM (#42408771)

    The flaw in your logic is that most of the jobs created at the sub-minimum wage level (in the absence of such a wage) wouldn't go to a 13-year-old making money to buy candy. They would go to people working five jobs trying to scrape by a living. Instead, with a minimum wage, those people scrape by a living while working only three jobs, thereby providing them a small amount of time at rest.

    Also, minimum wage establishes a base line for education. As you point out, certain jobs are no longer worth hiring someone to do them. Those jobs by their wage point had little to no education requirement. Okay, so there are no longer jobs for people who chose to drop out of school in ninth grade and refuse to learn a trade. You know what? That's a fair trade to me. If those people have a development disability that prevents them for learning a skill, then we have a social safety net to help them.

    Finally the $10,000/hr statement is just absurd right now, because that price point would eliminate all jobs except those requiring skill as a Fortune 500 CEO. Now, if we were a country with 501 citizens and 500 CEO jobs to fill? Then sure, it would be perfectly viable.

  • Re:Profit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Friday December 28, 2012 @04:43AM (#42409723)

    Further, I don't think that asking someone to justify their ridiculous statements (without even using the term "ridiculous statements") qualifies as trolling. If it did, then count Socrates as one of the first trolls.

    Why do you think they executed him? He was just so committed to the troll that he went along with it for the lulz.

  • Re:Profit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Friday December 28, 2012 @05:28AM (#42409839)

    Tax rates are a record low in the past two decades, and Obama has so far done little to change that.

    ..a nice factoid that is being misused here, since it doesnt tell us anything about the (lack of) redistribution that you are trying to use it for.

    I don't have figures in front of me for exactly the last 2 decades.. the numbers I have right now are for 1979 to 2009 [cbo.gov] (XLS spreadsheet), so I am using 1979 to 2009:

    The lowest quintiles share of the federal tax liability was 2.1% in 1979 :: 0.3% in 2009.
    The second quintiles share of the federal tax liability was 7.4% in 1979 :: 3.8% in 2009.
    The middle quintiles share of the federal tax liability was 13.6% in 1979 :: 9.4% in 2009.
    The fourth quintiles share of the federal tax liability was 21.6% in 1979 :: 18.3% in 2009.
    The highest quintiles share of the federal tax liability was 55.3% in 1979 :: 67.9% in 2009.

    I'm no genius, but it looks to me like everyone is paying less of a share than they used to for their government except for the top 20%, and before you go there, the top 1% went from a 14.2% share of the liability to a 22.3% share of the liability.

    People wanted a progressive tax system, and they got it in spades.

    Now we have a president that wants to raise taxes "on the rich" because they arent paying "their fair share", and in light of the evidence that "the rich" already pay most of the taxes, its hard not to conclude that this is pure class warfare unless you don't actually know the evidence.

    These numbers I give arent from some right wing blog, and they arent from fox news. They come verbatim from the Congressional Budget Office. I didnt "adjust" them, nor am I misrepresenting what the figures are actually of.

    I also didn't cherry pick, as is evident because I did not use the individual income tax data (which excludes among other things the social insurance taxes) which puts that bottom quintile at -6.6% (yes, NEGATIVE 6.6%) and the top quintile at 94.1% (yes, 19 out of 20 dollars in income tax is paid by the top 20%)

    Your turn. Please argue that Obama is not trying to redistribute the wealth, but do so by using actual data instead of supposition and innuendo, and neither "adjust" nor cherry pick the data. Can you do that, or are you just a bunch of opinion?

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