Philly To Get More Outdoor Ads

People in Philadelphia may be seeing a lot more outdoor ads in the near future if the city gets its way: after two years of debate, City Hall is getting closer to choosing an outdoor advertising company to manage advertising on municipal property across Philadelphia.

The city is considering proposals from at least a dozen companies that are bidding for the municipal contract, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Each company has submitted a bid with its own proposal for where and how outdoor ads should be installed, so the potential scope of the city's new outdoor ad inventory remains to be decided. However, the program will likely include ads on and within dozens of city-owned buildings like libraries and recreation centers, and may even include ads on vehicles like garbage trucks.

A total of 58 out of 134 recreation centers and 45 out of 54 libraries have been identified as viable candidates for carrying advertising, along with several other municipal buildings and over 4,000 vehicles owned by the city. Overall, the city's managing director Richard Negrin said revenues will be in the millions of dollars, helping offset growing budget shortfalls. The ads should be installed by the end of 2014, if all goes according to plan.

Not surprisingly, Philadelphia’s plans for more outdoor ads have run into opposition from local activists who say allowing ads on city property will only worsen the visual blight from existing ads on private property. For its part, the city has promised to be sensitive to historical sites and buildings, and won't permit ads for alcohol, tobacco, or guns, and is also banning sexually explicit ads and political ads. Finally, vehicles belonging to the city's health department won't carry ads for food, drink, pharmaceutical products, or medical services.

The Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) already carries ads on public transportation across the Philadelphia metro area. Titan recently landed a new five-year advertising sales contract extending its previous relationship with SEPTA, with the option for two two-year extensions. The contract will generate at least $150 million for SEPTA over the full nine-year period.

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