Hearst, one of the largest diversified media, information and services companies in the US, recently unveiled a groundbreaking multimedia installation called “HearstLive” in the base of Hearst’s headquarters, the landmarked Hearst Tower at 57th Street and 8th Avenue in New York City. Since opening earlier this week (September 27), the revolutionary digital dynamic canvas is now the first, street level display in the city to showcase continuously updated news, entertainment and information at such a scale, and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More than a quarter million people pass by the intersection of 57th Street and 8th Avenue each week, making it an ideal location for such a visual destination.
Passersby can view curated content from Hearst’s brands and partners including A+E Networks, Complex, ESPN and Vice; its 30 television stations such as WCVB-TV in Boston and KCRA-TV in Sacramento, Calif.; nearly 300 magazines around the world including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s BAZAAR and Car and Driver; 17 daily newspapers including the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and Albany Times Union; digital and video companies such as BuzzFeed and AwesomenessTV; and information and services sources including Fitch Group, Hearst Health, among others. By visiting the HearstLive website, users can also discover more about any topic highlighted on HearstLive. The site contains articles, slideshows, videos and social sharing capabilities. At the corner of the installation, the BrandCentral@HearstLive feature allows visitors to experience Hearst brands and partners via social media. Highlighting dozens of brands per day, BrandCentral showcases social streams from Twitter and Instagram, in real time.
Hearst President and CEO Steven R. Swartz, said: “We’re thrilled to offer New York a visual, technological and social experience unlike anything they’ve seen before. Our iconic brands entertain on every screen, device and format. What better way to give people the opportunity to interact and engage with dynamic, timely content from our businesses and partners than in this innovative format. Ten years ago, Hearst Tower made history as the city’s first occupied green skyscraper. As we approach this anniversary, we are proud to be the first to build an LED sculpture merging news, information and entertainment.” Hearst Chief Technology Officer Phil Wiser, added: “At Hearst, we are constantly delivering exciting ways for audiences to connect with our content. HearstLive presents an entirely new medium to deliver news, entertainment and information, and allows for an unprecedented level of updates and engagement with our brands.”
HearstLive, which has been in development since autumn 2015, is a technological achievement in itself. The concept and execution was developed by New York-based creative digital agency Code and Theory. New content for HearstLive is produced multiple times a day by a team of editors and designers at Hearst. The digital canvas features Hearst’s content in a variety of ways including slideshows, videos, live streaming and animation. HearstLive is powered by award-winning digital signage software Sedna, and the physical screens at HearstLive are made up of 1,348 custom-engineered LED modules. The entire installation uses 7 million LEDs fabricated specifically for this project. A custom-built application utilising WebGL displays within the HTML5 markup language powers the visual output to the LED displays.
Activate the Space was chosen to design and integrate the LED technology as the hardware partner due to its expertise in LED displays and extensive portfolio of projects in Times Square and retail spaces around the world. Activate the Space worked with Hearst, and Code and Theory to achieve an appearance which parallels the structure of Hearst Tower. The unique design results in a completely custom display of nearly 600 individual, angled LED modules to deliver over 100 stories on HearstLive each week.