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Modernizing out-of-home advertising with Via Media Solutions

Smart cities are digitizing their OOH advertising strategy — and unlocking new revenue streams along the way.

Via Transportation •
It’s digital’s big moment. A year into the pandemic, nearly every aspect of our lives has been digitized. Education’s gone virtual. Our doctors now see us on FaceTime. Streaming is our national pastime.  Across all industries, it’s clear that wide scale digital adoption will outlast the COVID era; it’s here to stay. In the transportation sector, the rise of the digital economy is happening in concert with extreme budget shortfalls, while ridership also declines and fare revenue is in freefall.  Out-of-home and digital out-of-home advertising helps agencies and cities build financially sustainable and scalable transit networks, while also improving communication with their riders. During this moment of digitization, cities and transit agencies have an opportunity to unlock new sources of revenue that will offset costs  and provide financial resources for them to expand,  while also meeting riders where they are: At street level. Out-of-home and digital out-of-home advertising (“OOH”) — from naming rights sponsorships, to bus shelter advertising, to cross-channel content on screens inside of vehicles, to exterior vehicle screens, wraps, and branding — helps agencies and cities build financially sustainable and scalable transit networks, while also improving communication with their riders (and potential ones). Adding elements to a comms toolbox is even more imperative as we face continued COVID-19 challenges and need to provide the latest service updates to riders.  By relying on new, digital OOH mediums both in and around vehicles and transit stations, forward-thinking cities and agencies can use the resulting data and analytics to not only better monetize their assets, but also target, tailor, and improve the rider experience and, ultimately, their service. With this kind of innovative thinking comes big financial benefits: Typically, fares cover a third of public transit authorities' costs, while grants, public funding, and advertising make up the rest, according to the 2018 National Transit Summaries and Trends report . However, most small and mid-size transit agencies are hamstrung by budget constraints and are unable to develop a robust digital media product and strategy. Hiring an external agency is usually out of the question, too. To bridge this gap, Via has launched a new media and advertising offering — already live in several global cities — to advise on and manage the deployment of tailored advertising solutions at no cost to cities and transit agencies. This is an easy way to ensure they’re not left behind in the digital revolution, while also supplementing their comms strategy and safeguarding their struggling COVID-era revenue streams. Modernizing and reimagining public mobility means thinking differently about how — and where — we reach riders.