Skool Board Throws Toys Out Window

Dmitry Sokolov

Following a media controversy culminating in a confused and tedious trustee vote (broadcasted online), Canada’s largest school board decided not to approve expansion of its current ad-funded digital signage pilot program manged by OneStop Media. The 4-school pilot was to pave the way for a board-wide school communication channel, devoting  30% airtime to paid content.

It’s not clear what will happen to existing screens and another (procedural) vote is scheduled for next month to continue/close the discussion.

It’s sad to see the project hit such a roadblock especially considering earlier optimistic attitudes from stakeholders on all sides as well as the promise that a real-time unified communication channel held for a diverse board like TDSB.

OneStop Media currently operates a network in the Toronto Subway, screens in Sporting Life regional retailer as well as several commercial, hotel and residential ad networks in conjunction with Pattison. They have been known for their involvement and willingness to support many arts, public service and other city initiatives though their networks. For me, OneStop is one of the few network operators whose screens genuinely add value for the environments they operate in. I hope the TDSB project does not perish completely.

As reported by CP24, Toronto’s Breaking News:

  • The Toronto District School Board has rejected a proposal to expand a pilot project that places televisions in common areas in high schools.
  • The televisions, operated by One Stop Media, broadcast student-generated content and advertisements.
  • The students’ exposure to the advertisements, which account for 30 per cent of the overall content, has been the subject of debate and controversy in recent days.
  • During a marathon meeting Wednesday night, TDSB trustees voted against expanding the pilot project.
  • Before the meeting, one school trustee expressed concern that the advertisements may send the wrong message to students.
  • “We don’t send our kids to school to see advertising,” says Ward 2 trustee Chris Glover. “Putting TV commercials in school hallways where kids can’t avoid them, denigrates education.”
  • One Stop Media would have covered the cost of the screens and software, returning five to 15 per cent of advertising income to the board, of the additional televisions.

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