The city is negotiating a contract with a company that was formed to install a variety of "street furniture" downtown, which will be financed by advertising. The company, Infinity Decaux, is a joint venture between Infinity Outdoor, a leading outdoor advertising company, and JCDecaux, which builds the furniture and will assist in selling advertising.
The public toilets that will be built have received much fanfare, but they are only one element of the project, which will also include new bus shelters, newsstands, interactive kiosks and emergency telephones. The shelters and newsstands will be the main vehicles for advertising. The toilets won't have any.
Tim Fox, director of transit for Infinity Outdoor, says 2500 new bus shelters, 100 newsstands and 20 interactive kiosks will be built.
The city council took bids on the job and is on the verge of awarding a contract to Infinity Decaux, Fox says. The company will pay for the construction and maintenance of the furniture and expects to earn $750 million from advertising over 20 years. It has promised to pay the city $150 million of the ad revenue during that time.
The city council is expected to approve the bid within 60 days, Fox says. Construction of the furniture would start soon after.
Infinity, a unit of Viacom Inc. is a leader in outdoor advertising. Fox says entertainment companies, fashion, autos and high tech are the leading outdoor advertisers now. They have replaced tobacco ads, which used to be the leader but no longer advertises outdoors after reaching an agreement with the federal government to stop.
"It's diversified and grown in the last ten years," Fox says. And it is bound to grow further with the installation of the new furniture, which in its attempt to upgrade the city of Los Angeles will upgrade opportunities for outdoor advertising there, too.