Companies find attentive viewers in the back of a cab

In November 2007, Matthew Isaacs, principal at hospitality and event company The Bloc Group, found himself being recognized by passersby on the crowded streets of New York. The reason: After hosting an event for singer John Legend, Isaacs' company was featured on Taxi TV, an ABC offering that puts news, weather, and lifestyle stories on screens in taxi cabs.

In November 2007, Matthew Isaacs, principal at hospitality and event company The Bloc Group, found himself being recognized by passersby on the crowded streets of New York. The reason: After hosting an event for singer John Legend, Isaacs' company was featured on Taxi TV, an ABC offering that puts news, weather, and lifestyle stories on screens in taxi cabs.

“The response we got was incredible,” he says. “Of all the things we've done, this got much more attention.”

Taxi TV segments are chosen from those that air on WABC, New York's ABC affiliate, so PR pros pitch the station's producers for placement on both.

NBC also has a cab-specific broadcast. New York TEN (Taxi Entertainment Network) was launched last June in partnership with Clear Channel. Through that program's 4,800 screens, companies can access a captive audience of potentially millions of cab riders by pitching the team at NBC Everywhere, the division responsible for the cab network.

“We really focus on making the experience as customized as possible, with what is most relevant for the consumer,” says Mark French, GM and SVP of NBC Everywhere. He adds that the program will be expanded to gas stations, supermarkets, and sports arenas.

Networks can track the programming and learn how many people turn off the screens, turn up the volume, and, with GPS, where viewers are located while watching a certain segment.

Lisa Dallos, EVP at Freud Communications, says that PR pros can benefit from this channel for several reasons.

“Taxi cabs are excellent in terms of [audience] attention, placement, and how ubiquitous [they are],” she says.


Key points:

  • Screens in taxis reach a targeted, attentive audience
  • Networks can track the response from passengers
  • Stories with a local focus have a better chance of being featured

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