In time for the London 2012 Games, thousands of London’s black cabs could get video screens fitted on their vehicles which will show adverts and also customised ads depending on where the cab is located.
The innovative screens which will be attached to the roof of the cab, will be tested and trialled next month in November, on top of a mini.
Passengers in the cabs will also be given a free connection to high speed Wi-Fi to use while they travel.
The double sided screen will be able to be constantly updated with its live 3G connection and a GPS chip will allow marketers and advertisers to display ads in certain locations e.g. hotel ads could be shown outside a tube or railway station. Traffic warnings could also be shown if there was an accident nearby.
However, due to the current legislation that forbids the use of full motion videos on the screens, trailers for films or adverts for TV shows will not be shown.
The TfL (Transport for London) is working with Eyetease Media’s CEO, Richard Corbett, to develop the idea. Corbett says, “I spent a lot of time in New York and saw the taxitop advertising there was interesting.
“However, I couldn’t understand why there weren’t digital version. After some research, I decided to have a go at it.”
He carries on saying, “We made a proof of concept last year, using funding from friends. It was very hand to mouth, but we got there, and every penny had to count,
“We took it to Transport for London, and they loved it, so we have refined the final version which we hope will be on over 5,000 cabs by the time the 2012 Games open.”
Eyetease Media will pay cabbies around £2,000 per year to have the screen on their cabs, which is a nice extra bit of cash for the drivers, after the increase cost of having to maintain their cabs, the rise of taxi insurance and the fewer number of customers. The firm is working with two large advertising companies to sell the ads.
“Previously firms would have to buy an ad for a long time. With this, they can buy ads for an hour, a day or even just when cabs are in a certain location,” says Corbett.
Eyetease Media also hopes to sell the system across the globe, including New York.
Director of Taxi and Private Hire at TfL, Jason Mason, said “We have been approached by two organisations regarding the installation of electronic advertising screens that would be fixed to the roof of London cabs. However, no agreement has been made and any proposal of this kind must meet a series of strict criteria before trials or tests take place.
Discussions are ongoing.”