NYC Puts Payphone Call Out For (Ideally) Insane MediaCo

May 8, 2014 by Dave Haynes

New York City has issued a new RFPpayphone1, looking for (probably) a media company interested in retrofitting its 1,000s of old public payphones as free WiFi hotspots.

There are more than 7,000 public pay telephone installations across the five boroughs, and the pitch to potential respondents is that they can bankroll the deployment by running advertising on at least 4,000 of those. The sites would be rolled out over five years, balanced across the boroughs.

The city is looking for proposals that would have these features and services:

Proposals are encouraged to outline a variety of service offerings including, but not limited to:

The new units have to be smaller or the same size as existing payphone structures, and ad positions will be reduced. Structures in exclusively residential zones will not be allowed to display any advertising.

The city wants a guaranteed minimum of $17.5 million in ad revenue share and is stipulating its share has to be more than 50% of the gross. Five percent of total advertising space has reserved for public service advertisements at no cost to the city.

So … the screens are going to be small, sites where people actually live are off-limits, there’s a whopper of a revenue guarantee and any ideas about reinventing payphones as innovative public information stations are pretty much gone.

Something tells me this RFP won’t trigger a deluge of responses.

I’ve no idea what this means for City 24X&, a start-up mediaco that two years ago started installing retrofitted touchscreens at payphones in the boroughs. Is that off? Different? Is this an RFP it needs to to go through to win the bigger job?

Image found at the wonderfully named New York Shitty.

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