Now you can watch TV while travelling to work
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.”