New York’s MTA Looks For Expressions Of Interest

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

As our editor-in-chief wrote briefly a few weeks ago, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York is seeking an expression of interest from entities interested in being the advertising agent or a sponsor of a future network of interactive customer information kiosks, named ‘On the Go!’ Travel Stations.

OTG gives customers information about their complete trip, from trip planning and service status to information about nearby restaurants and other destinations, resulting in an unprecedented amount of information inside the subway system.

The OTG – currently in a pilot program of five locations – is a collaborative effort with New York City Transit, Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road. The MTA wants to expand its rollout to a lot more subway and railroad passenger stations, number unspecified. To assist in this rollout, it wants to understand the best way to maximize the OTG’s revenue potential and MTA’s return on investment from the OTG’s advertising/sponsorship capabilities.

This is a Request for Expression of Interest issued exclusively to elicit information, and not a Request for Proposal or any promise that an RFP will be issued – although actual proposals may be solicited by means of a RFP at a later date. The MTA shall not award a contract as a result of this RFEI.

The MTA wants to obtain all relevant information to enable it to make proper decisions towards development of a strategy that will ensure a viable, maintainable, cost effective customer information system supported by advertising for the foreseeable future. It’s looking for industry experts to provide their experiences, lessons learned and technology guidance, advertising maintenance support services, and industry best practices in operating and maintaining the advertising system on the OTG.

The MTA believes that digital signage offers a number of significant advantages over traditional static advertising, by providing third-party advertisers and sponsors with the ability to target specific market segments and differentiate demographics. It is particularly interested in exploring revenue opportunities through digital advertising placement on the OTG units once the installation is expanded to a full roll-out with units in many more stations.

One of the areas that the MTA is interested in is the local or hyper-local advertising market. Specifically, the MTA is interested in assessing opinions about the potential mix of local and national advertising in terms of maximizing revenue potential. Key to this effort is a system that provides the flexibility to program advertising by time and/or day part and location, providing the opportunity to target/maximize reaching the targeted audience.

Additionally, the MTA is interested in the sponsorship marketplace, and whether there is a financial model where a single brand would place their brand on all the OTG kiosks and therefore underwrite the program.

One of the several objective for the RFEI is To gain information about the type of content, format, and interfaces pertaining to digital advertising placement.

The OTG pilot program includes a 47” interactive kiosk screen designated area for service/information and for video advertising. The kiosks have the potential to provide recurring revenues through digital advertising located on the bottom portion of the screen display or through a branded sponsorship.

Deadline for the RFEI is March 22, 2012.

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