NBC Selling Other Half Of NYC Taxi Fleet’s Screens

December 20, 2011 by Dave Haynes

A few weeks after the company that has media rights on roughly half the officially sanctioned taxis in New York announced a media deal with a TV network, the other company that has the other half of the cabs announced its own media deal, with a different TV network.

If any situation screamed merger/acquisition, it’s this one.

VeriFone Systems, Inc. and NBCUniversal have announced “a significant long-term strategic and advertising sales agreement” that puts news, information and entertainment programming in more than 12,000 taxi cabs, including 6,800 in the New York fleet.

With VeriFone’s recent upgrade to its entire fleet of 6,800 NFC-enabled New York taxis — New York’s largest taxi fleet under one digital out-of-home provider — NBC Owned Stations will be able to offer advertisers new and interactive functionality, including the ability for riders to make purchases directly from the taxi screen, simply by swiping their credit card through the system or tapping NFC mobile phones on the system already in place for fare payments.

In New York, riders will be able to watch a vast array of NBCUniversal programming on high-resolution screens, including regularly refreshed local news and weather updates from NBC 4 New York and content from NBC Sports Group, NBC News, NBC’s primetime and late-night offerings as well as several of its cable networks and Universal Pictures. An interactive ticker will deliver breaking news updates and headlines throughout the day, enabling riders to choose to access more information right from the interactive television screen. In the future, consumers will be able to download content directly to their smartphones.

Or just getting any of that stuff – if they actually want it – on their smartphones, on demand. I’m not at all convinced about consumer enthusiasm or the plain old dynamics of watching TV in the back of a cab.

Advertisers will also have the ability to integrate both mobile and social features into their campaigns, track user engagement and enable riders to select from a range of coupons and print them out on new, wider receipts for future redemption. Additionally, they will be able to select the specific daypart or geography they are interested in targeting. Other future enhancements are planned.

That’s actually a lot more interesting, and if I was heading down to Nolita or some other area with an invented name I might actually like to get a two-fer lunch coupon geo-targeted to that immediate area.

The deal covers taxis in nine markets, including New York, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Miami. NBC is also noting this just adds to more than 60,000 gas stations it has with I’m not sure which of the gas pump guys.

At the start of this month, Creative Mobile Technologies,  or CMT,  announced a deal with American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. and ABC National Television Sales to provide premium content and advertising through ABC’s local stations and sales forces in major U.S. media markets, including its flagship station, WABC-TV in New York City, where CMT’s equipment is installed in some 6,600 yellow medallion taxis.

A Verifone guy confirmed via email that his firm and CMT pretty much split the NYC fleet for both the credit card processing and and the programming.

So we have two TV networks running TV segments on taxi screens and selling the medium in such a way they hope to get a sliver of the TV media spend pie – an infinitely bigger pie than that of OOH or alternative. Planners get pitched on the same thing by sales guys from two different networks. Betcha they’d prefer one buy for all.


  1. David Shikiar says:

    Nice post Dave. I think the biggest challenge for all of this contant and advertising in cabs is still getting people to look up from their iphones.

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