Monday, Jan. 3, 2011 | 8 p.m.
Visitors to the Consumer Electronics Show this week won’t have to leave the airport to get a glimpse of new technology in Las Vegas.
McCarran International Airport unveiled a giant, Samsung video screen Monday. It’s made up of 100 46-inch liquid-crystal televisions that combine to make a 33-foot by 19-foot space for advertisers.
Located at the bottom of a 45-second-long escalator ride, the screen is meant to give visitors a place to stare – and advertisers a space to buy – as arriving passengers leave the airport’s D Concourse.
“People come to Las Vegas and they’re excited,” said Randall H. Walker, director of the Clark County Department of Aviation. “They want to know all the things they can do when they’re here. This gives us a great opportunity for us to provide a new, innovative way to communicate with customers.”
Because the frames around each screen are so thin, the individual televisions blend together as though they are one, said Michael Steavenson, whose company performs public relations for Samsung.
“This was the perfect opportunity to kick off the Consumer Electronics Show with a bang,” said Doug Albregts, vice president of sales and marketing for Samsung Enterprise Division.
McCarran officials say they think their screen is the largest of its kind at a U.S. airport. They will be submitting an application to the Guinness Book of World Records in hopes of proving their claim, and should find out for certain within 90 days.
“This is an impressive sight,” Albregts said. “It is by far the largest display in the airport.”
Shauna Forsythe, president and CEO of Alliance Airport Advertising, a company that helps businesses advertise in airports, said she thought the screens would provide a unique opportunity for McCarran.
“This project was about 18 months in the making,” Forsythe said. “It was a real custom design, a custom build.”
The first image to burst onto the screen, shortly after 2 p.m. Monday, was a high-definition picture of CityCenter, followed by glamour shots of the Las Vegas Strip at night.
Part of the idea of the video system is to be flexible, Walker said. Advertisers can choose to change out ads depending on the time of day or time of year.
Walker said that about $12 million of the airport’s revenue comes from advertising. The new screens are expected to generate from $500,000 to $1 million annually.
McCarran paid $800,000 for the engineering, design and installation of the screens, said airport spokeswoman Candice Seeley. The screens themselves were given to the airport by Samsung in exchange for the branding rights on the televisions, she said.
About 16 million people each year enter the airport through the D gates, Walker said, which is about 42 percent of all travelers through McCarran.
Smaller screens, at 4-foot by 10-foot, are located in the airport’s A, B, and C concourses, meaning that any advertiser can potentially reach all travelers by renting all of the screens, Walker said.