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MTA installs digital ad screens in Manhattan stations

Novel forms of advertising continue to be introduced

Novel forms of advertising continue to be introduced in the subway as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's efforts to increase revenue from ad space. The latest are 10 digital advertising screens placed at 10 stations in Manhattan. Credit: Michael Wang

Riders have been seeing some high-definition advertising in the subways since the MTA installed 10 51/2-foot digital screens earlier this month.

The MTA installed these digital advertising screens, managed by CBS Outdoor, in 10 Manhattan stations, including Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, the Port Authority on 8th Avenue and Columbus Circle.

Though the MTA declined to say how much revenue the screens are bringing in, a spokesman said advertising took in $130 million last year, an increase from about $120 million in 2012. In 1997, ad revenue was $38 million. Digital ads also are part of the MTA's new digital information kiosks.

"The MTA views digital screens as playing an increasingly important role in the future of advertising inside our system," Jeffrey Rosen, the MTA's director of real estate, said in a statement. Other stations featuring the 66-inch-tall, 36-inch-wide screens include Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, Herald Square, Lincoln Center, 49th Street on the N, Q, R lines and 23rd Street on the F and M lines.

The 10 new digital screens will run ads from Turner Broadcasting, including promotions for the NCAA's March Madness basketball tournament. The ads will be streamed to the screens through Transit Wireless, the company that is wiring underground stations for cellular and wireless service.

"This is yet another example of how having state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure in the New York City subway system supports new technology projects that enhance the rider experience," Bill Bayne, chief executive of Transit Wireless, said in a statement.

The screens will be in place until at least next March, but Turner is interested in keeping them in the stations longer, the MTA said.

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