Upgrading the NASDAQ MarketSite, One of Times Square’s Most Iconic Signs


2080 x 2964 resolution


5.6 million pixels


Uses 30% less power than its predecessor

When you think of digital out-of-home (DOOH) signage, there’s undoubtedly one locale that outshines all the rest: Times Square, New York City. With thousands of tourists and dozens of towering displays, it’s both an incredible opportunity and an incredibly competitive space. It takes a lot to stand out at “the crossroads of the world”—yet that’s exactly what the NASDAQ MarketSite does.

Rising an impressive 120 feet and spanning 84 feet across a unique conical shape punctuated with windows, the LED screen at the corner of 43rd and Broadway is absolutely one of a kind. And while the tower has been iconic for ages, it’s never looked this good. That’s because Panasonic recently upgraded and redesigned the outdoor digital sign, equipping it with a sharper screen capable of full-motion video, live simulcast events, and interactive social engagement campaigns.

Revamping While Retaining the Original Vision

The former LED screen had served its time for over 10 years—installed in 1999, today’s technology had far surpassed it. So in 2013, NASDAQ started accepting bids to replace the video board. Panasonic proposed a brilliant idea: upgrading the specs and capabilities of the video board while retaining the exact same form factor as the old board—allowing the screen to be replaced one piece at a time without interrupting its usual operations. Given the prime real estate, every minute saved made a big difference in NASDAQ’s bottom line.

After a video shootout with competitors, Panasonic won the bid in partnership with the Branded Cities Network. While installing a twelve-story screen in the center of Times Square is never easy, this project faced a further challenge: getting two LED boards with different resolutions to work together during the replacement period to display the same content. Panasonic created a custom solution to do just that, enabling the board to generate ad revenue while being replaced piece-by-piece.

Nasdaq Tower

While the former screen had a resolution of only 1280 x 1824 with a pixel pitch of 20mm, Panasonic’s new video board boasts a 2080 x 2964 resolution, a 12.3mm pitch, and more than twice as many pixels with 5.6 million. Despite doubling the pixels, the new screen actually consumes 30% less power than its predecessor.

With Branded Cities, Panasonic also took over the Times Square network operations center (NOC) that schedules, manages, and monitors the content for the NASDAQ MarketSite and other displays in the area. While keeping most of the staff, Panasonic otherwise completely refreshed the NOC, installing new systems and software to make it more efficient than ever.

Creative Campaigns at the NASDAQ MarketSite

A singular display attracts singular ad campaigns: the giant LED screen has been the canvas for several memorable ads. During Times Square’s busiest period—New Year’s Eve—Facebook bought out the screen for 48 solid hours on the 30th and 31st, making it the biggest campaign ever sold by Branded Cities to a single client.

In August of 2016, the board was the centerpiece of an innovative campaign that made headlines, including a write-up in The New York Times. In a promotion for the US Open, passersby were able to have their live image displayed on the NASDAQ MarketSite behind them and take a once-in-a-lifetime mega-meta-selfie.

The impressive video board is also used by NASDAQ itself: the company uses 30 minutes at the open and close of its stock exchange to display its celebrity-strewn ceremonies and its own ads. Despite its unique challenges, the LED replacement has been a stellar success.

New Year

The ad sales for the year of 2016 were the highest ever in the history of the sign—encouraging results in a fiercely competitive market. Panasonic’s team continues to monitor the screen everyday from the local NOC and is proud to play such a vital role for one of the most photographed digital displays in the world. 


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