Texas TV station launches mobile traffic service

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Houston-based television station KHCW-TV has partnered with mobile marketing firm 3rd Dimension to launch a traffic service.

The KHCW Traffic Jam Cell Cams is a free mobile service that helps local driv­ers avoid traffic. The CW network affili­ate has a nightly news show with traffic alerts, but wanted to reach consumers during commuting hours.

“Since we don't offer [morning and af­ternoon news shows], we chose mobile to be with them wherever they are, when­ever they want,” said Roger Bare, VP and general manager of KHCW-TV, Tribune Broadcasting Company, Houston. “It's a real brand extender.”

Mobile users can view near real-time traffic images from any of the cameras along their route and program keys on their phone to personalize the service.

More than 600 traffic cameras, oper­ated by Houston TranStar, are mounted along freeways, tollways and some major intersections in the region, ostensibly to facilitate transportation and emergency management.

The program is trying to reach the 18-24 year old demographic. Bare said that this audience is more likely to be experi­mental with the mobile channel.

KHCW is in negotiations with auto­makers and other local businesses to run ads on the mobile software. The ads will run on the device while the traffic cam is loading, over the “buffering” signal.

In early 2007, 3rd Dimension worked on a similar campaign with WCBSNewsra­dio 880 in New York. In 2008, the mobile services firm aims to roll out the platform to additional markets across the country.

“This will be the year of convergence of the personal navigation device with the mobile device,” said Bruce Laskin, COOof 3rd Dimension.

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