Thursday, July 7, 2011

Subway naming rights up for sale as TTC approves mega-contract

The Better Way is now locked into a 12-year, $324-million ad contract.
TTC commissioners approved a deal Wednesday to award all advertising within the transit system to Pattison Outdoor Advertising.
Pattison will have to give the TTC a minimum $25.2-million fee in the first year, about $5 million more than total ad revenues in 2011. If the TTC’s 65% share of the ad revenues is higher than the fee, they’ll collect the higher amount.
The new contract encourages Pattison to explore new ad revenue sources including subway line naming rights, subway station naming rights, subway car video screens, 3D LCD screens and information kiosks.
TTC staff said the new deal allows wrapping 50, up from 35, bus or streetcars with ads and wrapping up to 24 subway cars with ads, up from 12.
During the debate, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong suggested he’s OK with naming rights for stations, like the idea of Dundas-Ryerson station. But using another example, Minnan-Wong said Dundas-Zanzibar station, named after the Yonge St. strip club, would likely not be on the right track for the TTC.
TTC vice-chairman Peter Milczyn stressed the deal would still give the TTC the right to refuse ads.
Councillor Janet Davis warned the deal lasts too long, could overwhelm TTC stations and vehicles with ads and could take away councillors ability to sign-off on naming rights.
“I don’t think that Coca-Cola subway station is something that the majority of the residents of Toronto want to see,” she said. Jamie Kirkpatrick of the Toronto Environmental Alliance told the commission he questioned the amount of the contract, suggesting the expected revenue was too low.
Councillor Norm Kelly questioned Kirkpatrick’s credentials or research to make such a claim.
“I’m a transit rider who is pretty pissed off” he’ll be staring at an ad as he is “squished into a subway car,” Kirkpatrick fired back.
Bob Leroux from Pattison Outdoor Advertising dismissed concerns subway stations would be inundated with ads, saying the contract was very clear on what can or cannot be done.
“Specifically in the contract it states that there cannot be anymore than there currently is, if you wish to offer less you can but there cannot be anymore,” he said.
Leroux said they will “absolutely” bring forward naming rights ideas to the commission.
“It is something that they have asked us to do,” he said.
Pattison takes over the TTC ad contract from CBS Outdoor Canada at the end of the year.

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