Telstra dials into OOH with digital billboards for taxis

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 5 March 2018

Telstra is moving further into the outdoor advertising space inking a new deal with a taxi screen company to provide what it says is a "world first" real-time advertising solution.

The telco has partnered with Sydney-based advertising startup Cab Digital Media to launch TaxiLive, a digital billboard for taxis - which features on the back of the car. 

The 32 inch custom designed digital screens are GPS enabled and connect to the Telstra network.

Channel Ten and Telstra are among the first advertisers. OMD and Spark Foundry are on board to sell the media space.

Advertising messages can be targeted to the digital screens based on their location, the time of day or the weather.

Almost 1000 cabs on the road

The TaxiLive screens roll out today, with 300 planned by April. Almost 1000 of the TaxiLive screens will be on the roads by the end of the year.

Cab Digital plans to share advertising revenue with taxi owners and operators and will pay cabbies for installing the screens. It will also offer incentives such as cleanliness of their vehicles, good reviews and time spent on the road.

As a safety measure, the ad creative featured on the screens will only ever change/move when the vehicle is stationary, not while it is moving.

Cab Digital initially began as a way to deliver safety messages and weather and traffic updates, but grew into an advertising solution when the founders realised the targeting capabilities could offer advertisers a new way to connect with consumers.

Najeeb Aftab, co-founder and head of sales and partnerships at Cab Digital Media says: “The idea for TaxiLive was born one day when Shafiq Khan and Sajid Khan, the now MD and CTO of Cab Digital, had spent an hour in traffic following an accident on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

"They thought, what if we could tell motorists that there was an accident and to take an alternate route? Three years later, we’re thrilled to be launching what we believe is one of the smartest digital billboards in the world.”

The startup worked with Telstra’s enterprise arm for the past two years to develop the network of screens.

Martijn Blanken, group managing director of customer management and sales at Telstra Enterprise, says: “We are excited to work with Cab Digital Media to create this home-grown innovation. The TaxiLive solution is a great example of how technology and the internet of things will continue to connect and digitise new things all around us, creating smarter cities and communities.”

In the future, Cab Digital Media aims to partner with roadside authorities to share data that could help contribute to and improve transport, infrastructure and congestion reduction initiatives.

Telstra is also rumoured to be working closely with JCDecaux on the recent City of Sydney OOH tender, according to a Sydney Morning Herald  article last month. The contract is said to be worth around $500 million and includes the provision of street furniture such as bus stations, billboards and free Wi-Fi.

JCDecaux has held it for close to 20 years. JCDecaux and Telstra are already working together on a contract that will see 1800 sites across the telco's payphone network turning into digital advertising screens with a wifi connection.

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