Management & Operations

N.Y. MTA adds 10 high-def ad screens

Posted on March 17, 2014

As part of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) efforts to increase revenue from ad space, the system placed 10 high-definition digital advertising screens at 10 different subway stations in Manhattan.

The digital screens, managed by the MTA’s advertising contractor CBS Outdoor, exclusively show Turner Broadcasting content. The high-definition screens are the first to be placed inside subway stations for digital advertising and will be used to promote coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

“The MTA views digital screens as playing an increasingly important role in the future of advertising inside our system. It is also great to see the evolution of a brand utilizing advertising at our subway stations in innovative ways,” said Jeffrey Rosen, MTA director, real estate.

During the Major League Baseball playoffs in 2010, Turner’s wrapping of the Times Square Shuttle included small digital screens that showed customers video clips from playoff games.

Now less than four years later, the MTA and Turner Broadcasting have entered into an agreement for the digital screens — through connectivity supported by Transit Wireless. The Transit Wireless network infrastructure is enabling the streaming of content to CBS Outdoor displays within the 10 select subway stations.

The MTA will continue to garner opportunities to add more digital screens to the transit system. In addition to increasing advertising revenue, the digital screens also have the ability to provide important information to customers. The screens will serve as a platform if there is ever a need to broadcast an emergency notification to customers.

Revenue from the sale of advertising in the MTA transit system has risen dramatically — from $38 million in 1997 to more than $130 million in 2013. Among the MTA's recent 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. Advertising on MetroCards has also been a success.

Digital Urban Panels with digital advertising are already in place at station entrances and On-the-Go Screens, way finding kiosks with ads, continue to be placed in the system.

Standing 66 inches high, and 36 inches wide, Turner will use the new screens to promote the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, and will also stream promos for its entertainment and news programming on TNT, TBS, truTV, Adult Swim and CNN. The current agreement will keep the units in place through at least March 2015 but Turner has expressed interest in expanding the network years beyond.

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