MTA Looking To Advertising To Raise Revenues

NYC Subway Video Ad
The TBS 2010 MLB Postseason video ad that will be appearing in some NYC Subway cars. Photo courtesy of the MTA.

Once again the MTA is looking to raise revenues via advertising opportunities in its vast infrastructure. The latest attempt is in the form of video ads in subway cars & side ads on some Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) cars. Here are complete details courtesy of a press release the agency sent me earlier today:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that as part of its effort to increase revenue from advertising, novel forms of advertising were being introduced on the subway and the Long Island Rail Road.

Starting today, the inside and outside of a train serving the 42nd Street Shuttle (S) will be fully wrapped with advertisements promoting TBS’ exclusive coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2010 postseason division series and league championship series. While subway car wraps have become increasingly popular with advertisers, this campaign will be the first to make use of moving images through video screens. The screens, inside the subway cars, will show replays of the previous night’s baseball highlights during exciting post-season action.

And for what is believed to be the first time since railroading began in the New York City region in the 1830s, the exteriors of commuter trains will display advertising. Starting today, 50 of the Long Island Rail Road’s 836 M-7 train cars will display ads that begin at the level of the doors’ floors and extend up to the bottom of the cars’ windows.

These cars will travel through the most heavily used portions of the Long Island Rail Road, from Penn Station and Atlantic Terminal to Babylon, Ronkonkoma, Huntington, Port Washington, Long Beach, Hempstead, Far Rockaway and West Hempstead. The ads, promoting Cablevision’s Optimum WiFi, will be visible to customers boarding the trains on platforms as well as passing motorists and pedestrians. If this three-month trial of LIRR exterior advertising is successful, the MTA and LIRR will consider extending the program to more LIRR cars with the help of advertising contractor CBS Outdoor.

“The MTA earns more than $100 million per year from sales of advertising space, mostly through traditional print media, but this traditional advertising has suffered as a result of the recession,” said MTA Chairman Jay Walder. “Our uncertain finances mean that we have to think creatively to maximize the value of our physical assets. One way we are doing that is by creating more dynamic advertising opportunities.”

Among the MTA’s recent or planned initiatives designed to increase ad revenue are station domination campaigns in which advertisers are invited to take over entire stations and digital displays on trains, buses and stations. The MTA has also explored 3D images and in-tunnel advertising.

I once again must applaud the agency’s initiative with regards to the advertising opportunities available in its vast infrastructure. If anything, I wonder why they did not look into this earlier. Playing devil’s advocate though, I wonder how effective the side ads on LIRR cars will be.

Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Side Car Ad
Just one of the side ads that will appear on 50 Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) cars. Photo courtesy of the MTA.

In the press release, they mentioned how passing motorists and pedestrians are just some of those who will see the ads. I must respectfully disagree as motorists near a LIRR car are more likely to see it speeding by which would make the advertising practically impossible to see. This even more so with pedestrians.

I wonder if the agency looked into video ads inside LIRR cars as I feel that would be highly effective. The majority of passengers will spend more time aboard on 1 LIRR ride versus one on the subway. While the video ads will be effective on the subway, I feel they are missing a golden opportunity with regards to them on the LIRR.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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