Mas­siv op­por­tu­nity

Now you can watch TV while trav­el­ling to work

Finweek English Edition - - Advertising & Marketing -

LO­ERIE AWARDS DEL­E­GATES last month had their first ex­po­sure to a new con­cept in taxi ad­ver­tis­ing: on-board tele­vi­sion sets in­stalled in minibuses by Mas­siv TV. It fills a gap in the daily me­dia ex­po­sure of 15m com­muters trav­el­ling to work and back while read­ing news­pa­pers, lis­ten­ing to the in-car ra­dio, notic­ing out­door ad­ver­tis­ing and, while wait­ing to board, watch­ing big-screen broad­casts at the ranks.

They’re a prime (and prime time) tar­get mar­ket for me­dia ad­ver­tis­ers. Now, in what may be a world first, they have an ad­di­tional me­dia op­tion dur­ing their 28-minute jour­ney.

Mas­siv TV plans to equip 800 to 1 000 ve­hi­cles by year-end and 10 000 within five years. “You can’t get bet­ter ARs (au­di­ence rat­ings) than the taxi in­dus­try can de­liver daily,” says MD Tiff Willemse. “Dur­ing prime time (05h00-08h30 and 16h00-19h30) each taxi makes 10 jour­neys a day.”

Com­muters won’t be watch­ing live (re­al­time) broad­casts but 28-minute recorded pro­gramme-and-ad­ver­tis­ing pack­ages down­loaded via satel­lite twice a day. How­ever, view­ers will see it as nor­mal TV pro­gram­ming. Sourced from the com­muters’ favou- rite chan­nels, pack­ages in­clude news, sport, mu­sic and mag­a­zine in­serts, tai­lored to the needs of a short-term mar­ket­place. Col­lec­tively, they de­liver big­ger audiences than the best avail­able on any sin­gle TV chan­nel.

They’ll also of­fer ad­ver­tis­ers and taxi own­ers a num­ber of other ad­van­tages. Ev­ery equipped ve­hi­cle will be­come a mo­bile data cen­tre, tracking each ve­hi­cle’s move­ments and feed­ing back to the owner (and the ad­ver­tiser) how many ve­hi­cles are on the road at any time, each taxi’s rout­ing and passenger count. “In the near fu­ture,” says Willemse, “our taxis will be able to take pay­ments via swipe cards and cell­phones. Cash­less pay­ments give pas­sen­gers far more se­cu­rity.”

Taxi driv­ers won’t have the op­tion of switch­ing off the pro­gram­ming (as they do with com­peti­tor-sup­plied mu­sic tapes), thus en­sur­ing au­di­ence num­bers. CD and tape play­ers will be re­moved from TV-equipped taxis, so there’s no al­ter­na­tive source of en­ter­tain­ment. “Re­search showed us that ac­count­abil­ity was the big thing for ad­ver­tis­ers,” says Willemse. “Dis­tribut­ing ra­dio tapes means re­ly­ing on some­body else to play the tape.”

While some mar­keters don’t want to be as­so­ci­ated with taxi ad­ver­tis­ing due to ac­ci­dents and their bad rep­u­ta­tion, Willemse be­lieves his con­cept has enough ap­peal to over­come those ob­jec­tions. “Taxi view­er­ship is an un­tapped mar­ket that all TV chan­nels want to reach. Com­muters mostly watch SABC1 and e.tv when they’re at home. Mas­siv TV is the gate­way to that au­di­ence.”

Mas­siv has in­vested R22m in the scheme so far and is “com­fort­ably funded” for the first 1 000 taxis, though fu­ture fi­nanc­ing re­quire­ments will be heavy. The up-front cost of equip­ping a ve­hi­cle is R12 500, which is fi­nanced over 48 months.

“We’ve put to­gether pack­ages that make money for them and us,” says sales di­rec­tor Greg Bruwer. “The taxi owner doesn’t have to pay for the sys­tem and gets ad rev­enues from month one. We have the com­muter for 72 min­utes a day. We’re not fi­nanc­ing a TV set but rolling out a highly tar­geted com­mu­ni­ca­tions and me­dia plat­form that will im­prove their busi­nesses.”

Bruwer, Willemse

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