Now Playing At Your Local Bus Shelter...

by , Nov 19, 2001, 12:00 AM
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Advertising at bus shelters has always been print-based. But it's the new millennium, so Antex Electronics, a manufacturer of digital audio sound cards, thought it was time for a change. The company has developed a system that will place video screens at bus shelters, where audio and video ads can be played and run from a media unit that can change the ads frequently.

The company has formed a partnership with LNI Custom Manufacturing, a sign company, which will manufacture the bus shelters. It is also negotiating with advertising rep firms who will sell the advertising for the bus shelters.

"Outdoor advertising at shelters has been a standard 4' x 6' panel. We're implementing a new advertising source that will be an additional type of revenue for customers," says Dave Antrim, Antex's sales director.

The system, called Media Director, will feature a 17" monitor with a liquid plasma display that streams content. It can play static images or full motion video/audio from the Media Director hardware, which contains a large local hard disk that downloads and stores data. It can be connected to the Internet or fed by a laptop. Ads can be sent to the monitors and updated in three different ways: via a high speed T1 or DSL line that runs underground to the bus stop; via a wireless transmitter that downloads content to the box at the bus stop; or via a DVD upload. This system enables ads to be changed frequently, so different ads can be played at different times of day to reach target audiences.

Ads of any length could run on the Media Director because it has a large storage capacity. It has 100 gigs of storage, which holds 50 hours of video and thousands of hours of audio, Antrim says.

Craig Watterson, a spokesman for LNI, the sign company, says a prototype of the new bus shelter has been built and will be tested in New York within a few weeks. It should be on the market within three months, he says. New York is the ideal city because the product will work best in dense pedestrian traffic areas where people don't commute by car. San Francisco will also be good, he says. The goal is to go national.

Once the bus shelter is set up, ads must be sold. Antex has presented the idea to Eller Transit, a large outdoor media rep firm in Los Angeles. However, the company hasn't begun trying to sell advertising yet.

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