High Profile UK Smart Cities DOOH Network Can’t Pay Its Bills

The company that won the deal to mimic New York and put so-called smart city display kiosks on main streets around the UK has run into financial trouble, entering into what the Brits term “administration.”

That means the company can’t pay its bills and has a third-party involved trying to get it out of an insolvent state.

InLink is a joint venture between the US media company Intersection, which has ties to Google/Alphabet, and UK OOH media owner Primesight. British Telecom handles connectivity at the sidewalk.

The InLink program is similar in looks and direction to the LinkNYC smart city DOOH posters that dot the streets of Manhattan and the boroughs.

As with LinkNYC, the InLink kiosks are essentially digital OOH ad posters dressed up with “smart city” elements like free WiFi, a VOIP phone and USB charging. But they exist because of the ads.

The background on the company, from InLink:

In 2015, BT requested a proposal from a partner to take over advertising for their payphone franchise starting in 2017. The franchise was secured by leading UK outdoor advertising company Primesight and urban innovation company Intersection who joined forces to create InLinkUK. As part of the agreement with BT, Primesight also sells advertising on nearly 17,500 BT payphone kiosks across the UK.

The UK entity has published plans to put at least 750 units in place around the country.

There is not a lot of information I can find on what’s not working, but the company makes its money selling ads and spends its money on the hardware, deployment and keeping the screens lit up. Clearly, something isn’t working as planned or hoped.

There’s lots of good background here on the Register, though some of the issues – like the kiosk phones being used by drug dealers – didn’t likely have much impact on media sales efforts.