Bringing clutter to mass transit

The Boston Globe reports that the T, Boston's mass transit system, is looking for ways to raise funds in order to offset their $10 million deficit in the fiscal year that begins July 1 with advertising.

Desperate to raise more money without increasing fares, the MBTA is preparing to install its own closed-circuit television network in subway cars and stations.

T officials said the plan, which calls for installing television screens inside subway cars on the Red, Orange, and Blue lines, could generate $3.5 million in advertising revenues a year. But the televisions would mark a dramatic change for America's oldest subway system.

The network, which would probably offer a newscast in addition to advertisements, would be installed within the next year, according to the plan, which requires final approval from the T board.

This would follow along a similar structure already about to be put in place in Atlanta, Georgia which will have subway and commuter trains fitted with five 15-inch flat-screen televisions per car. "The televisions on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, or MARTA, will carry a 30-minute loop consisting of 20.5 minutes of local news from an ABC affiliate there and 9.5 minutes of advertising. The programming is updated throughout the day."

It's not just the US transit groups that are looking to advertising to increase revenue. The London Underground will be getting their first "moving advertising posters" in May. Viacom Outdoor starts trials of a new form of digital advertising using liquid display screens that will be placed on either side of the escalators at Tottenham Court Road station. They will allow advertisers to create animated posters with moving images or changing text.

Viacom and London Underground have agreed that full-scale TV or film ads should not be used on safety grounds in case they caused passengers to stop or even move against the flow on escalators.

The panels can change in sequence and ad space is offered in 5 and 10-second spots that loop over a minute. Ad rates will be similar to radio rates - and be more expensive during high traffic hours like rush hour.

AnonymousCoward's picture
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James_Trickery's picture

We already have moving image ad-panels in Barcelonas subway system. Film is allowed, however this is only on the platform and not in the stairs or escalators, also, the panels show news as it happens so people tend to seek the ad-panels out.

kurtberengeiger's picture

Video monitors in German subway stations and trains have been commonplace for quite awhile. In fact, the Berlin subway and commuter-rail system has hosted the "Going Underground" short film festival for several years now. Travellers vote on the films they see via SMS.

Dabitch's picture

Aye, there are screens in Copenhagens Metro as well. Commercials run silent on them, re-edited with sme explaining supers.

That filmfestival sounds a whole lot more fun.