Onestop's high school screen network back in discussion

April 7, 2011 by Dave Haynes

The digital screen network being pitched by Onestop Media (now owned by Pattison Outdoor) is still under active consideration by the Toronto District School Board, and was the subject of lengthy discussion last night at a board meeting.

The board looked at a couple of motions, reports the Toronto Star,  concerning the concept to put screens on Onestop’s nickel in 70 high schools across the city.

One motion asked that the screens be allowed in schools in wards where trustees support the idea – the suggestion being that it should be up to the trustees who are closest to the schools to make the decision.

The other asked staff to figure out alternatives that would get the necessary software in the hnads of the students at low cost, and get messaging in place without a for-profit company being involved.  A student from one high school had mike time to explain how his school does its own thing, I believe using a ScreenScape account.

Both motions were referred back to staff, a move that still requires approval by the full board and would then mean more delays.

Another motion by a trustee asked for a review of the board’s advertising policy, which is almost a decade old.

After the OneStop proposal was rejected last month, Chair Chris Bolton pushed to have the pilot project — which saw screens installed in four of his high schools with 30 per cent “non-commercial” advertising content — expanded to wards where trustees agree to it.

Such a move would still not happen until after consultation with parents and students in those wards, said his motion.

Trustee Michael Coteau, however, has argued that any such decision needs to be consistent, and board-wide.

Critics have also questioned how tough the board could be in enforcing only “non-commercial” advertising — such as the milk board or media sources — when the pilot project included MuchMusic.

The board’s two student trustees have rejected any such screens in schools, saying they don’t like the idea of any advertising in the hallways, commercial or not.

Some interesting background I have heard is that parents involved with the trials run by Onestop have been very supportive, and in an interesting spin, students were selling local advertising on the screen to raise money. That beats the pants off peddling chocolate almonds and Saturday morning car washes.

This story will be going for while.


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