Who’s selling Metro ads?

Photo courtesy of frozenchipmunk

foggy-metro, courtesy of frozenchipmunk

Maybe the better question should be, who’s not selling any metro ads?

For the umpteenth time today my westbound train on the orange line took me past the Dunn Loring stop and an ad for Hancock, opening July 2nd. What was a movie ad that was far past its expiration date has now aged so much that it just needs a small sticker to turn it into an early DVD release promotion.

Aside from the trauma caused by an early-morning exposure to an unshaven Will Smith in a grubby hat and bug-eye sunglasses, I am bothered by this question: there’s really not someone else willing to pay a few bucks for this spot? I suppose it’s possible the studio – in a fit of optimism – bought the space for a full 3 months past the movie’s release date, but it seems unlikely to me.

WMATA’s ads are sold primarily by CBS Outdoor, though a special marketing company handles the in-tunnel ads. The take from advertising across the system is what most of us would consider a pretty notable sum – $33,000,000 in 2007. However that comprises only 2% of WMATA’s total revenues, compared to passenger revenue of 36% and subsidies of 39%.

The question is, I think – could it be higher? I’d try to get some more information on WMATA’s advertising arrangements and dig a little to see if they’re really maximizing their return but it seems they’re unlikely to accomidate me.

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


5 thoughts on “Who’s selling Metro ads?

  1. I’ve ALWAYS said that I’d rather be advertised to shamelessly than have a fare increase. London’s Tube does advertising so well (you can buy entire escalator tunnels including space on the ceiling) and metro just doesn’t take advantage of that the way they should!

  2. There are a lot of people who whine endlessly about Metro advertising, but if you think about it… there aren’t really any outdoor billboards in DC. And Metro is constantly underfunded (even if I DO think they should manage their resources better). So we’re already getting less advertising in our faces all day than the residents of other big cities; I don’t think we need to begrudge Metro the revenue source.

  3. I don’t mind the advertising, but if it’s going to be there I’d like to think it’s productive. I have a hard time believing WMATA is continuing to realize revenue for that old ass HANCOCK ad.

  4. Oh, I’m sorry, I wrote my comment in the middle of something else and didn’t stop to clarify- I don’t think YOU are doing the bitching. (Yeah, hi, RECENT ads would be good, Metro…) But there was all this wailing and gnashing of teeth when they started doing car wraps and in-tunnel ads and I couldn’t figure out how people expected Metro to make additional money if they didn’t use the resources they had to do it. So meanwhile, Metro is on this constant onslaught of bitching from people who just don’t want to see ads, so I’d imagine that they have a very spotty commitment to actually selling that space.