London Underground to host digital advertising for the first time

LONDON - The London Underground is to allow digital advertising on its escalators for the first time, as part of a trial being handled by Viacom Outdoor.

Viacom, the current holder of London Underground's outdoor advertising contract, is trialling the display screens, called Digital Escalator Panels (D-EPs), on the side of the most-used escalators on the network at Tottenham Court Road station.

While including moving images and text, the 66 panels involved in the trial will not involve TV or film advertising on safety grounds for fear of distracting travellers.

The screens also have the ability to link up, making the transfer of images from screen to screen possible. It also gives clients the option of time-specific advertising, such as theatres using evening slots.

Viacom is selling five- and 10-second slots and has seven clients, including London Underground, already lined up.

The trial is due to start within months, according to a spokeswoman, and if successful will be rolled out at other locations across the network.

Jon Lewen, Viacom Outdoor's digital account director, said: "We are committed to exploring new and innovative ways to capture and captivate London Underground users. DE-Ps will both enhance the consumer's experience of advertising on the Tube and offer revolutionary new creative opportunities for our clients to connect with this audience in a more creative and tactical fashion."

Meanwhile, London Underground is this year conducting a regular review of its outdoor advertising account, with a new list of bidders for the £75m a year contract set to be released within days.

Last month, Viacom won the rights to sell space across Tyne and Wear Metro's 57 stations. The firm beat Maiden, JCDecaux and Primesight to win the contract, worth £10m over five years.

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