Annual @TfL Ad Revenue Increases by Nearly 20%

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Transport for London (TfL) last week revealed an increase in its advertising revenue, with more than GBP 140 million generated in the last year – all of which is to be invested back in the transport network.

The publication of TfL’s first Annual Advertising Report has shown the success of the Mayor’s drive to make TfL more commercially-minded, outlined how TfL is modernising the estate to maximise opportunities and analysed the first year of the revised Advertising Policy.

Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development for TfL told us “We continue to invest in transforming our advertising estate, which is already the most valuable in the world, to make it even more attractive to advertisers. This enables us to generate revenue which is used to modernise transport in London. At the same time, we are taking great care to ensure that the advertising we carry is appropriate for our diverse and growing city. We are extremely grateful to the advertising steering group for their invaluable guidance and insight in this and many other areas.”

In 2016/17 more than 16,000 advertisements ran on the TfL network, generating approximately GBP 142m – up nearly 20 per cent from GBP 120m in 2015/16. 40% of London’s outdoor advertising space, and 20% of the UK’s outdoor space, is owned by TfL, with revenue used to invest in maintaining and modernising transport. With its Tube, rail, bus and road network supporting approximately 31 million journeys every day this advertising reaches one of the most diverse and engaged audiences in the world.

To ensure that these advertisements are appropriate for a diverse and growing city, last year TfL revised its Advertising Policy with a particular focus on addressing issues around body image. This followed a pledge from the Mayor to ban advertisements that could pressurise people to conform to unhealthy or unrealistic body images. An Advertising Steering Group with deep experience of the industry and public policy was created to help guide TfL’s implementation of the policy including reviewing all complaints and rejected advertisements.

Over the past year, 148 complaints were received on a range of topics. The most frequent topics of complaint were related to religion, political, sexual nature and body image.

Sixty one advertisements were accepted after TfL worked with advertisers to amend material to comply with the TfL Advertising Policy, and 23 advertisements were rejected for not complying with the policy. Three of these were rejected for not complying with the policy on body image.

Val Shawcross CBE, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said “The Mayor has worked hard to make TfL more commercially-minded as money made from advertising can be directly used to improve the capital’s transport network. That’s why there has been a 20 per cent increase in revenue in the last year and why TfL continues to look at further creative opportunities, while ensuring that all advertising is fitting for a modern city.”

TfL is also working to find new and creative ways to enhance advertising across its network. In the past year, two large-scale screens have been installed at Canary Wharf Tube station enabling high-impact, full-motion advertisements to be displayed. Hundreds of new digital screens at bus shelters are providing a dynamic and flexible way for advertisers to market their products and services. New digital advertising screens across the A3 at New Malden, the A102 in Greenwich and A406 at Wembley have also been installed, with a further three sites planned to be installed later this year.

The Annual Advertising Report and more information about advertising on the TfL network, including the TfL Advertising Policy, can be found here.

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