New ad format for Mtl. Metro

A small, privately owned company in Quebec is literally turning Montreal subway cars into advertising vehicles.Marshall Moreyne, president and chief executive officer of Telecite in Pointe Claire, says two Montreal Metro passenger cars a week are being fitted with his firm's...

A small, privately owned company in Quebec is literally turning Montreal subway cars into advertising vehicles.

Marshall Moreyne, president and chief executive officer of Telecite in Pointe Claire, says two Montreal Metro passenger cars a week are being fitted with his firm’s visual communications system and all cars on three of the city’s four lines should be completed by November.

Moreyne says the fourth line should be finished by next year when its subway cars are fully renovated.

He says all subway cars in Telecite’s Reseau des Communications Visuel (Visual Communication Network) will have two led (light emitting diode) screens fitted into the upper portion of car windows, one at either end of each car.

He says the viewing angle of the four-color screens is 165 degrees, meaning virtually everyone who travels in a screen-equipped car will see the messages carried on them, and different messages can be shown on different screens.

Moreyne says his system also has an audio component to allow digitized voice station announcements.

Alain Bourion, project director for Le Reseau for the stcum – Montreal’s transit authority – says the screens are about 1.5 metres long and 30 centimetres wide.

Bourion says Le Reseau has signed such well-known national advertisers as Air Canada, Eaton’s and Kraft.

He says Telecite has a 20-year exclusive deal with the stcum, with the firm paying the entire cost of fitting the subway’s more than 700 cars with led screens.

Also, Bourion says Telecite will make ‘small’ payments to the stcum during the first 12 years of the contract.

He says for the final eight years of the agreement, the stcum and Telecite will split revenues 50-50.

Moreyne says Le Reseau is a multi-million-dollar project, with the first phase of the network costing more than $11 million.

He says the test phase of the network ran from July 1991 to February 1992.

He says Le Reseau is being presented to transit authorities initially as a service improvement, with revenue generation to be emphasized later.

Moreyne says a standard spot on Le Reseau will run 20 seconds. An average ride on the Montreal Metro takes 15 minutes.

He says ad time is being sold on a cpm basis with rates in the $225-$325 range depending on purchasing patterns.

700,000 passengers

He says when all the trains in the Metro have been equipped with screens, 700,000 passengers a day will see their messages.

‘We’re talking about real animation,’ the Telecite executive says about the messages his company’s high resolution, 60-frames-a-second led screens are carrying.

Advertising using animation and text takes up 50% of Le Reseau’s ‘air time,’ says Moreyne, and is almost entirely in French because of Quebec’s language laws.

The other 50% is being used to deliver service information about subway service, and news, weather and sports from a variety of sources including Television Quatre Saisons, ckac radio, the tabloid Journal de Montreal and The Gazette.

Gazette

The broadsheet daily can run its news in English but must put it in quotation marks. Its kicker reminding riders to read The Gazette for the full story must be in French, Moreyne notes.

Lynn Hilborn, director of corporate relations for the Toronto Transit Authority, says his city’s transit commissioners are certainly interested in what is going on in Montreal.

Hilborn says Toronto subway riders can expect to see a pilot project similar to the one in Montreal within the next six months.

He says the ttc is ordering new subway vehicles from Montreal manufacturer Bombardier that can accommodate the kind of screen found in Telecite’s system.

However, Hilborn cautions the ttc is not committed to one company, even though he and other officials have been to Montreal to see Telecite’s set-up and are impressed by it.

Hilborn admits the Metron information and advertising system used in Toronto’s subway is obsolete.

The Metron system is a sort of electronic teletype machine running lines of text and small graphics on a small, rectangular box installed overhead at subway stations.

Moreyne says his system is the first of its kind in the world, adding messages to the screens are broadcast via radio and can be updated in 15 seconds.

Moreyne founded Telecite in 1986. In that year, the Japanese came out with the first color led.

‘I said to myself, `This thing should be used for advertising,’ ‘ he says.

Moreyne says he expects the Visual Communication Network to be doing just that in Washington, d.c.’s subway by the end of the year.