Eye-Catching LCD Screens at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts Spark Ticket Sales Uplift

May 18, 2011

The new business model for The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts required an innovative, tech-heavy way to handle the significant increase in the volume of ever-changing, daily information the Centre wished to transmit to patrons.

The Sony Centre uses the 21-sceen video wall to display the current venue event while previewing upcoming attractions. All of the 47-inch LCD displays are synchronized.

DSE® 2011 Bronze Apex Award – Arts, Entertainment & Recreation: The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
NOMINATING COMPANY: Sony of Canada Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
CATGORY: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation
PROJECT: The new business model for The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts required an innovative, tech-heavy way to handle the significant increase in the volume of ever-changing, daily information the Centre wished to transmit to patrons. A total of 96 LCD screens were installed to facilitate wayfinding, and enhance concession menus, ticket windows and the overall guest experience.

With a new business model that focused on keeping patrons informed with the most up-to-date ticket and concession menu details, as well as making sure guests cans preview upcoming attractions and easily find their way around the venue, the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts deployed 96 LCD screens to meet these goals:

  • There are 21 screens (each 47 inches) that form a canvas video wall,
  • 22 47-inch LCD displays serving as concession menu boards,
  • Four additional 32-inch LCD concession menu boards,
  • Screen marquee feature areas featuring 47-inch displays in a 2x9 formation,
  • Wall of Fame made up of 47-inch LCD screens in a 2x8 formation,
  • Six 32-inch LCD screen ticket window displays,
  • Theatre entrance doors featuring 47-inch screens in 2x2 formation, and
  • Two 47-inch LCD theatre mural displays.
Displays were deployed over ticket windows.
Informational displays hung over the ticket windows near the Sony Centre’s entrance show pricing, even time and upcoming attractions.

The 21 47-inch LCD screens are powered by PlayStation 3 (PS3) customized for digital signage, and are driven by Sony Ziris Canvas over an IP network in a unique orientation that is the largest installed system of Ultra HD-capable video wall in North America, according to Sony of Canada. This 21-screen feature wall has a dual function. In addition to serving as a single screen, the center nine screens can be segmented out to act as one independent screen presenting live video feeds from within the Sony Centre, while the remaining 12 screens function in any combination of groups or independent displays with preprogrammed material.

The remaining 75 screens have content delivered by an IP network to HD players powered by Sony’s Ziris Professional digital signage solution.

The new business model for The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts significantly increased the volume of constantly updated information that needed to be transmitted to patrons. This content includes food menus, drink menus, sponsorship information, and a B-roll of upcoming events and show highlights. Because of this wide variety in content, it would be impractical and costly to have placed hard signage over the concessions stands, and to still improve the efficiency of scheduling changes in advance.

The main challenge for the digital signage system installation was that the Sony Centre was declared a heritage building by the City of Toronto, which restricted what construction and renovations could be done. In addition, the location of the 21-screen feature video wall was to be against a wall of solid marble that could not be disturbed.

To mount the displays so that they met building codes for height and obstruction regulations, a specially designed aluminum structure was built in front of the solid marble wall. The structure had to be capable of supporting the weight of the video wall but could not be fixed in any manner to the marble wall. The mount was designed to be fixed to the main floor and to the floor of the mezzanine level in three places, while still allowing clearance between the structure and the marble wall. A set of horizontal beams with modified monitor VESA mounts support the 21 screens and the customized PS3 racks.

By the number of people that stop and look at the content, as well as the number of content providers that want access to the wall, the results so far have been positive. The system has enhanced the theatre experience and also entices people to come back to the theatre. With the enhanced signage displays, the theatre has seen an uplift in sales from people responding to the performances playing that evening or later in the week.

The positive comments from patrons on reopening night demonstrated the convenience of the digital signage for ordering food and wayfinding, as well as the “wow” factor of the large screen configuration. In addition, many organizations, including George Brown College School of Design and the Cyber Arts High Schools, requested access to display content on the screens. These schools wished to commission high school students to prepare one-minute video clips showing their view of what Toronto culture means to them. As a result, more than 80 entrants participated and prizes were awarded to the winning students as part of the grand reopening.

This system installation was absolutely necessary to differentiate the Sony Centre as a destination entertainment venue and not just as an old theatre in the extremely competitive Toronto theatre market.

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