Hearst Corporate

HearstLive

One Foot in the Past, One Foot in the Future

In 2015, Hearst approached Code and Theory with the opportunity to design a permanent public-facing digital installation in their global headquarters. Despite a track record of successful and forward-thinking investments and acquisitions in new media, Hearst struggled to move beyond the public perception that they were simply a print magazine and newspaper company. The goal of the installation was to promote the breadth of properties and to reinforce the connection with the Hearst brand itself.

With our roots in New York, we were excited to make a mark on the iconic Hearst Tower. The first skyscraper to break ground after 9/11, it also became the city’s first LEED Gold certified sustainable skyscraper. The historic tower base is also a designated New York City Landmark, commissioned by William Randolph Hearst himself in 1928.

WL_Building

1

The Challenge

Location, Location, Location

The installation site was an unoccupied first-floor retail space in the Hearst Tower, situated between Columbus Circle and Times Square. The corner retail space has over 120’ of windows, and experiences a high volume of sidewalk and street traffic.

Despite its high-profile location, the site had been empty since the tower’s completion 10 years earlier, as Hearst searched for a suitable tenant to anchor their global headquarters. And although Hearst’s history with New York City stretches back over 100 years, most passerby were unaware what took place inside this unique building.

Hearst had the opportunity both to change perception about their offerings and to engage with the city in a very public way.

HL_Wall

Size Matters

We faced two competing priorities. First, content needed to be current in order to be relevant to visitors and demonstrate Hearst as a leader in news and entertainment. Second, the display had to be big to attract attention on the city streets and feel at home with the skyscraper’s architecture.

The content strategy called for sourcing large, high-quality assets at a fast pace. We concentrated on using animated stills and large-scale typography, relying on the visual language of outdoor signage.

2

The Strategy

The Right Mix

We needed to create a rich selection of content for viewers, while minimizing the effort required by Heart’s internal team. HearstLive relies on a mix of timely content curated and designed by a dedicated in-house Hearst team, procedurally generated content drawn from Hearst brand social feeds, and pre-programmed evergreen content drawn from Hearst’s internal archives.

The installation acts as digital billboard, serving bold headlines and highlighting the best stories from Hearst. The mobile companion site, HearstLive.com, is created simultaneously in the CMS. It encourage visitors to explore the stories in more depth, and drives traffic to Hearst’s online properties and social media feeds.

Hearst Live – Walls

3

The Solution

Brick and Mortar and Ones and Zeroes

Working with our engineering partner Activate the Space, we ordered 1,348 custom-made LED modules (with a total of 7 million LEDs). The LED modules are mounted on 1600 square feet of handmade millwork and powered by a unique media rack utilizing 16 MacPro’s.

A custom built application utilizing WebGL and Canvas displays within the HTML5 markup language powers the visual output to the LED displays. Additionally, for the Brand Central experience at the corner of the installation uses Twitter and Instagram APIs for real-time display of Hearst-related social media content.

E74c194c0ddde40e40da46254c18d2bebd4d9629

Programming Content

New content for the displays is produced multiple times a day by a team of editors and designers at Hearst. To accomplish an editorial and design workflow that facilitates programming the HearstLive experience, Code and Theory leveraged and expanded upon a custom CMS created by the agency in 2014 to control Hearst.com to manage the entire experience. The CMS was customized to this specific experience: stories are selected and slotted into areas of the visual display, videos and images are selected through an intuitive user interface, and content can be planned for both in advance and day-of sharing.

4

The Conclusion

Publishing Everywhere


HearstLive takes responsive design in publishing to a new level, allowing stories to scale from a cell phone to a city block. We leveraged our rich experience in creating publishing platforms to build a one-of-a-kind canvas with a bespoke CMS for a high volume of daily content.

98b0e5280a0c007c658d299e12c6697abee8b86f

New Horizons

As the distinction between product and content blurs, we need to meet our audience in new and varied places. Some of these places will be outside the bounds of a flat screen. We hope HearstLive can be an example of how to bring the richness and dynamism of online publishing to a physical public space.

Continue toThe Things We MakeProject

Defining the Route of Fashion

We are shaping the digital transformation of the industry by creating strong connections between audiences and brands.

Gawker 2
Bustle Digital Group - Gawker

Gawker | Don't call it a comeback.

An entertaining and engaging experience, all while still bringing a touch of class and sophistication.

Read More

Evolving the Financial Services Model

We’re transforming an antiquated industry through cutting-edge design and driving the future of finance forward.

Spotify Feature
Spotify

Artists don't just make art. They make money too.

Building a bigger funnel to help artists grow on Spotify.

Read More
College Board| Positioning the College Board as an Integrated Partner for Students

Transfiguring an integrated student, parent and educator experience

<p><strong>Transfiguring an integrated</strong> student, parent and educator experience</p>

Transfiguring an integrated student, parent and educator experience.

Read More
Rally| Elevating The Site Experience For a Crypto Pioneer

Elevating The Site Experience For a Crypto Pioneer

<p><strong>Elevating The Site Experience</strong> For a Crypto Pioneer</p>

Elevating the site experience for a crypto pioneer.

Read More
Coned Additional
ConEd

Building a future vision for Clean Energy in New York

ConEd tapped us as AOR to lead an integrated, purpose-driven marketing partnership to educate a multitude of audiences

Read More
  • A new brand strategy that ties ConEd’s clean energy vision to its purpose
  • An integrated creative campaign to showcase ConEd’s clean energy vision to its customers
Award WebbyW3 0031Ad Age 0023

Recognition

  • Code and Theory

    Webby Awards

    2022 Best Magazine – Websites and Mobile Sites
  • Code and Theory

    W3 Awards

    2021 Best in Show General Websites-Associations
  • Code and Theory

    Ad Age

    2020 Agency A-List

All Work

Get in Touch

  • Find Us

    One World Trade Center,
    62nd Floor

    New York, NY 10007

    More Offices
  • Work With Us

  • Press

  • Careers

    See All Open Positions

Continue toSays a LotThe Things We Make

Says a Lot —

Latest

News — 

Code and Theory’s Dan Gardner named Campaign US 40 Over 40 honoree

News — 

AIGA Eye on Design | The Era of Rebellious Web Design Is Here

News — 

Webby Awards | Code and Theory Named Webby Winner in 26th Annual Webby Awards

News — 

The Drum | Adland's reaction to Musk's $44bn Twitter deal: 'a major disruption to its ad business'

News — 

ESPN | Washington Commanders: Inside the NFL franchise's search for a new nickname and logo

News — 

The Washington Post | Becoming the Commanders: How Washington's NFL team found its new name

News — 

Ad Age | Washington Football Team Becomes the Washington Commanders

News — 

The Washington Post | The Washington Football Team's 18-month rebrand was extensive. Now the hard part begins.

Get in Touch

  • Find Us

    One World Trade Center,
    62nd Floor

    New York, NY 10007

    More Offices
  • Work With Us

  • Press

  • Careers

    See All Open Positions