The TTC could soon start showing ads inside subway tunnels
Your already advertisement-infested trip on the TTC could get even more corporate, a company proposing to line the interior of subway tunnels with high-tech dynamic ads.
A recent lobbying file proposing a "source of new income from media estate for TTC" could result in fancy new digital ads bombarding you during your daily subway commute, another conquest in the unrelenting corporate mission to monetize every square inch of our lives with ad space.
The pitch comes from Vancouver-based adtrackmedia Inc., a company that holds intellectual property rights and the Canadian patent for tunnel tech systems, designing, manufacturing, selling, and installing systems that display advertising in subway tunnels.
The bright and colourful installations are already a reality on Vancouver's SkyTrain system, as well as tunnel ad installations in cities around the globe like Sau Paulo, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Zurich, Rotterdam, and Seoul, with other systems in the works in Mexico City and Singapore.
Our extensive network of Trade Commissioners is continuously helping #CdnBusinesses fast track their global growth. Find out how we helped @adtrack_media grow in major metro systems around the world: https://t.co/FZG1hkcOKo #CanadExport pic.twitter.com/amJS7stGFh— Trade Commissioner (@TCS_SDC) December 14, 2020
The technology behind this pitch is impressive, and while viewers inside trains see what appears to be video, there are no actual video screens involved.
Instead, the installations take the form of arrays of lights installed on the walls of subway tunnels, synced to train speed to display video for passengers looking out windows.
Ken Bicknell, President and CEO of adtrackmedia, registered a phone meeting with the TTC's Head Marketing & Customer Experience in April, with a follow-up meeting held in late May.
Bicknell tells blogTO that current negotiations are under non-disclosure agreements and cannot be discussed, but he explains how these systems are paid for, installed, and operated by adtrackmedia, stressing that "there is no zero cost to the metro system."
It's still very early in the process as the TTC has only just received the proposal, but it's an exciting idea that could take off as a cash-strapped transit system is forced to explore new revenue streams after a catastrophic two years of low ridership.
A spokesperson for the TTC tells blogTO, "TTC has an official process when it comes to dealing with new initiatives like this."
"While it's true we have been approached by this company, we are nowhere near seeing this technology installed on the TTC."
"This would require going through our procurement process and would include consultation and, ultimately, approval by our Board – none of which is being planned for with the adtrack proposal."
"Every year we receive numerous unsolicited inquiries from vendors looking to do business with the TTC, and in every case, they are subject to our procurement rules."
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