Interactive TV Enters Cabs in 3 Major Cities

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Interactive Taxi delivers real-time ads to its touchscreen interfaces in cabs in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco starting this week.


The New York-based Interactive Taxi, run by Targeted Media Partners LLC, teamed with technology company PeerDirect Corp., Bedford, MA, for deployment of Internet-equipped touchscreen interfaces that will roll out in 600 cabs in the three cities.


Though Interactive Taxi launched its interface pilot in New York in September 2002 as a hotel, movie and restaurant guide, it lacked the ability to manage more than 200 screens in cabs at once, and some of the ad information was outdated by the time it was deployed.


In the 600 cabs, riders can access real-time local and national news, weather, sports, emergency alerts and traffic information. They also can conduct transactions -- buying movie tickets, for example, or paying their cab fare with a credit or debit card. Advertisers will be able to change ads in the middle of the day or switch to a different group of ads.


"We can monitor which buttons are being pressed [by cab riders] and change their creative during the day," Interactive Taxi CEO Corey Gottlieb said. "In 100 cabs, you could run one type of creative and within 24 hours find that the creative generated a certain number of button pushes, and expand it to all the cabs."


The Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Lincoln Mercury Dealer Association in Chicago is one of the first companies to use the interactive service, for Ford's new Mercury Mariner SUV in 350 taxis in the Chicago area through February and March. After a short video of the new Mercury Mariner is shown, riders are instructed to "touch the screen to find out about the new Mercury Mariner or see your Lincoln Mercury dealer," and it lists the dealer's Web site.


Interactive Taxi expects the campaign to be viewed by 1 million riders and achieve a higher response rate than previous campaigns, which garnered 2 percent to 8 percent, because the ads are now customized and interactive.


The new real-time marketing could expand to New York's cabs because the city has a mandate to have passenger interfaces installed in all 13,000 of its taxis by November. The city begins evaluating vendor programs this spring.


Interactive Taxi's interface was first used in New York cabs by advertisers, including American Express, which ran a campaign sponsoring the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003. About 400,000 New Yorkers were exposed to the message, and American Express' branded microsite received more than 28,000 requests for showtimes and theater locations.


Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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