12:32 pm Jul. 18, 2012
Now, advertisers will be able to target subway riders on the front of the MetroCard, too.
There have been ads on the back since 1995.
Today, the M.T.A. announced that space on the front will be available for between 18 and 51 cents per card.
The M.T.A. says that means ad buys would cost between $25,500 and $450,000, depending largely on the size of the batch, which could be anywhere from 50,000 to 5 million cards. Basically, the bigger the batch, the lower the price per card. So, a batch of of 500,000 would cost 30 cents each, while a batch of 1 million would cost 21 cents per card. (Here's the rate schedule.)
“For those with a message and a desire to reach millions of people in a novel, attention-getting way, there is no better way to advertise," the authority's chairman, Joe Lhota, said in a statement.
MetroCard advertising has been around since 1995, but it used to be run by a vendor and though businesses like JCPenney and metroPCS ran ads, the results were somewhat short of optimal. Paul Fleuranges, an M.T.A. spokesman, said since 2009, there's been maybe one ad campaign per year on MetroCards.
Now, the agency will handle MetroCard advertising in-house, and it anticipates brisker business, which the agency could really use. (The authority has made corollary efforts in the advertising arena, allowing, for example, wrap-around subway and bus advertisements.)
The M.T.A. was not able to immediately provide a run-down of the agency's advertising revenues, so it's hard to judge the chances that the ads will actually produce revenue on a meaningful scale.
Aaron Donovan, another spokesman, said, "Our ad revenue has increased every year despite the economic downturn, in large part because of the new initiatives."
Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, said, "I share the MTA's desire to get more revenue from sources other than the fare, but I am skeptical that charging premium rates for the front of MetroCards will yield a lot."
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