<body> Public Ad Campaign: Have MetroCards Entered the Public Forum?
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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Have MetroCards Entered the Public Forum?

I was recently asked to comment on the MTA's new advertising initiative which will bring advertising to the front of Metrocards in the near future, and whether this new form of advertising differs in any way from the traditional posters we see strewn about the transit system. While I see almost no difference at all, I was able to interject my thoughts on the futility of advertising revenue to in any way support our massive transit authority; an idea which is often touted by advertisers themselves when justifying the massive amount of commercial messages we are forced to consume on a daily basis. Quoted as saying that ad revenue makes up less than 1% of the MTA's operating budget, I would like to readjust that figure with the articles numbers. With a 12,500,000,000.00 dollar operating budget and approximately 120,000,000.00 dollars in ad revenue, the percent of the operating budget that ad revenue takes care of is .96%. Meaning if we increased a transit rides by less than 2.5 cents we could eliminate every single advertisement from the entire transit system. No more ads in the subway cars, on the platforms, in buses, on buses, at bus shelters, wrapped trains, station domination campaigns, digital screens at subway entrances, advertisements on Metrocards, spectacular campaigns, station naming rights, etc. Said plainly, I wonder if the public would opt for an ad free transit system given the choice. 
In July the MTA announced that it will make the front of its iconic MetroCard available to advertisers, who can replace virtually all but the black, magnetic strip with their own messaging. The MTA has sold advertising space on the back of the card since the mid-1990s, and this announcement comes with a reduction of the purchase minimum. The MetroCard’s advertisement space will be managed in-house by the MTA, while most MTA ad spaces are managed through CBS Outdoor. More [HERE]

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