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Re: Captive Audience TV Advertising on public transport

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  • billt44hk
    ... please. ... Here it is pasted:- ... Gary Ruskin gary@essential.org Mon, 16 Apr 2001 07:11:30 -0700 Previous message: Pediatrics: Commercialism in
    Message 1 of 3 , May 17, 2002
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      --- In carfree_cities@y..., "S Baddeley" <s.j.baddeley@b...> wrote:
      > This email won't open from here. Help! Can you give me another URL,
      > I'm interested.
      > Simon
      Here it is pasted:-
      > Protect endangered reading spaces from noisy TVs
      Gary Ruskin gary@...
      Mon, 16 Apr 2001 07:11:30 -0700

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      Commercial Alert April 16, 2001

      Commercial Alert and a coalition of reading and media advocates sent a
      letter today to President George W. Bush, asking him to protect mass
      transit riders and readers from companies that produce transit-based
      systems of compulsory TV watching. The letter follows.

      Dear President Bush:

      We are writing to you today about reading, and about the public places
      in which people do it. These places are under attack. The precious
      quiet moments that people find in their busy days on public transit,
      reading and study, are threatened.

      You can stop this theft of reading time, and we hope you will.

      The assault comes in the form of a new scheme to turn the nation's
      transit vehicles into amphitheaters for the compulsory watching of
      television. According to The Wall Street Journal, two corporations --
      Itec Entertainment Corp. and Orbital Sciences Corp. -- have launched a
      joint venture to put TV's on buses and trains across the country. The
      purpose of the TVs will be to broadcast "a package of news and weather
      -- and a lot of ads."

      The companies are starting with a pilot project on buses in Orlando,
      Florida. But they are moving quickly to penetrate "municipal bus
      services nationwide," the Journal reports. Eventually, the companies
      say, they want to deploy their compulsory television system in "buses,
      rail and other modes of mass transit" across the country – in other
      words, just about every kind of transportation in which people might
      want to take a few moments to read.

      Millions of people do. If you have ever ridden on New York City's
      subways, Washington's Metro, San Francisco's Muni or Boston's T, you
      have seen fellow riders engrossed in reading. You've seen students
      reviewing their lessons and recent immigrants wrestling with an
      as a second language text. You've seen a kind of mobile field of

      You've also seen people reading bestsellers and Bibles. Many riders
      the quiet time to just think or pray.

      Now the hucksters want to call a halt to this. They just can't bear
      thought that somewhere in America, people might be doing something
      constructive and not looking at their ads. They brag to advertisers
      a "captive audience" that doesn't have a choice in the matter. They
      have designed the TV's so that riders cannot turn them off or even
      them down. They boast that the sets are "hammerproof" – a telling
      admission regarding the emotions these sets will provoke.

      Americans today lead hectic lives. They don't have much quiet time
      reading, and we should treat the little that remains as a precious
      national resource. Certainly the government should not abet in any
      the destruction of this reading time. It should not help turn public
      transit into a commercial free-fire zone.

      As Governor of Texas you labored hard to improve reading skills in the
      state. As President, in February you proposed a new $5 billion
      reading initiative. Your wife Laura is well known for her dedication
      the causes of childhood reading and adult literacy. In a high point
      your presidential campaign, which the media mostly ignored, you
      encouraged children to turn off their TV sets and read. "If you're a
      good reader, you can go to college and be anything you want to be,"
      told a third grade class in San Diego.

      That's why reading time is so important. It is why we urge you to
      defend the users of the nation's mass transit against the invasion of
      compulsory commercial noise. You can do this. You can keep these
      spaces safe for reading, study, work and quiet reflection.
      Specifically, you can prohibit any expenditure of federal
      funds on mass transit systems that coerce their riders to watch TV to
      the detriment of these quieter pursuits.

      This would be a noble action. It would make you an environmental
      president in a new and most important way. We urge you to take this

      Don Block, Executive Director, Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council
      Les Blomberg, Executive Director, Noise Pollution Clearinghouse
      David Bollier, author, policy strategist
      Jason Catlett, President, Junkbusters Corp.
      Stuart Ewen, Chair, Department of Film and Media Studies, Hunter
      College; author of PR! A Social History of Spin*
      George Gerbner, President and Founder, Cultural Environment Movement;
      Dean Emeritus, Annenberg School of Communication*
      Todd Gitlin, Professor of Culture, Journalism and Sociology, New York
      University; author, The Twilight of Common Dreams*
      Sut Jhally, Founder and Executive Director, The Media Education
      Jean Kilbourne, author, Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the
      Way We Think and Feel
      Bob McCannon, Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project
      Jim Metrock, President, Obligation, Inc.
      Robert McChesney, Research Associate Professor, U. of Illinois at
      Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy*
      Carrie McLaren, publisher, Stay Free!
      Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University*
      Paula Quint, President, The Children's Book Council*
      Douglas Rushkoff, Professor of Virtual Culture, New York University;
      author, Coercion and Media Virus*
      Gary Ruskin, Executive Director, Commercial Alert
      Gene Russianoff, staff lawyer, NYPIRG's Straphangers Campaign
      Juliet Schor, Senior Lecturer on Women's Studies, Harvard University;
      author, The Overspent American*
      Betsy Taylor, Executive Director, Center for a New American Dream
      Frank Vespe, Executive Director, TV-Turnoff Network
      Peter Waite, Executive Director, Laubach Literacy Action

      * indicates affiliation for identification purposes only

      <------letter ends here------

      Please contact Sarah Youssef, Associate Director of Domestic Policy in
      the White House. Ask her (politely) to encourage President George W.
      Bush to defend readers and reading by prohibiting all expenditures of
      federal transportation funds on mass transit systems that compel their
      riders to watch TV.

      You can reach Ms. Youssef by phone through the White House switchboard
      at (202) 456-1414. Her fax is (202) 456-5557, and email is

      For more information, see Commercial Alert's web page on protecting
      endangered reading spaces, at
      Alert's home page is at <http://www.commercialalert.org>.

      Following is an article from the February 21 edition of the Wall

      Advertisers Seek Out City Buses To Broadcast Their Latest Pitches
      By Robert Johnson

      Advertisers dream of captive audiences. So much so that in recent
      they've even tried placing ads on turnstiles at sporting events,
      the fact that the audience is restrained for only a second or so.

      Now Orbital Sciences Corp., a maker of mass-transit tracking systems,
      teaming up with Itec Entertainment Corp., a small theme-park design
      company, to target the ultimate captive audience: riders of city
      who are typically confined in the vehicle for 10 to 20 minutes. The
      joint-venture partners want to plant television screens inside
      buses to broadcast a package of news and weather -- and lots of ads.

      Orbital is already running a pilot program in Orlando, Fla., where
      a dozen buses have been showing programs and information on upcoming
      stops on the closed-circuit TV system since October. Advertisers with
      air time include the Value Pawn store chain and First Choice Auto
      Finance, a used-car credit provider.

      Some passengers say they welcome the TVs. "Watching the monitors gives
      you something to do," says Steve Choiniere, manager of an Orlando
      clothing store and a regular bus rider. "I saw one story about the
      outdoors that had mountains and woods. It was a lot better than
      the same old buildings pass by outside the bus."

      Others aren't so happy about being trapped on a bus with TVs showing
      at a preset volume. "The whole idea of television ads blaring at you
      a bus is offensive," says James Clark, editor of monthly Orlando
      magazine and an occasional city-bus rider. "It's bad enough that you
      have to be riding a crowded bus in the first place, but this is adding
      insult to injury."

      The designers, in fact, have taken pains to prevent passengers from
      injuring the TV systems, and vice-versa. The screens and monitor
      which hang down from the bus ceilings in boxes, have contoured corners
      to help prevent riders from hitting their heads. They are also what
      describes as "hammerproof."

      "Someone may take a swing at these screens and try to yank them down,"
      says Doug Tison, legal affairs director for Orlando's bus system,
      as Lynx. The TV systems, which include three monitors for each
      cost about $11,000 to install per bus.

      The programming, which Itec puts together, draws stories from a
      of news wires. Some stories appear as printed text, but others, such
      lifestyle and nature features, are color video.

      Itec also generates content at its small Orlando studios, such as
      questions that appear occasionally on the bus TVs. "It really doesn't
      take much to entertain most people on a bus ride," says Daniel West,
      vice president of Itec Network, the closely held company's telecasting

      So far, advertisers have been pleased with the results of the Orlando
      pilot program -- and the cost to participate, says Annette Percival,
      president of Advantage Marketing Concepts, a media-buying company in
      Orlando. The Orbital-Itec partnership has guaranteed a total of one
      million viewers during six months of telecasting the 30-second spots,
      for $1,500 a month, Ms. Percival says. By comparison, she says,
      such an audience via television in Orlando homes would cost about
      a month.

      One satisfied customer is the U.S. Marine Corps, whose advertising
      agency, J. Walter Thompson, a unit of New York's WPP Group PLC, bought
      recruiting ads on the Orlando buses in November. The bus ads are the
      same 30-second spots running on network TV, depicting a Marine with a
      sword slaying a dragon.

      "The Marine recruiters in Orlando tell us that prospects are noticing
      the bus ads and responding positively," says Gary Sayers, the agency's
      district supervisor for the Southeast U.S.

      This week, Orbital is launching an effort to market the systems to
      municipal bus services nationwide. The Dulles, Va.-based company is
      offering to distribute Itec's TV monitors for free to municipalities
      that agree to try the bus-TV system. Orbital says it's in talks with
      several cities but declined to say which ones. Under proposed sales
      agreements, Orbital and Itec would split about 90% of the revenue.

      The news and weather can be tailored to each city, notes Marc
      a partner at Itec. The technology could also work in commuter trains,

      Similar systems are being developed and tested by other companies on
      systems in Singapore and London.

      Orbital already has numerous municipal contacts because its mass-
      tracking systems are used on 25% of the nation's 81,000 municipal
      The systems help dispatchers keep track of the vehicles.

      Orlando-based Itec is best known for designing such popular rides as
      Universal Studios' Jurassic Park and Spiderman in Orlando. In the
      Jurassic Park ride, for example, the company plans which way the boats
      will turn and what the dinosaurs will do. Itec's client list includes
      Walt Disney World and the Mirage Resort in Las Vegas.

      So with such a glamorous resume, why bother with buses, perhaps the
      world's dullest rides? "That's just the point; it's a challenge," says
      Bill Coan, a partner at Itec. It's also a wide-open market, he adds.

      But what's the best part for an advertiser? Mr. Plogstedt, the Itec
      partner, says it's probably that passengers have to pay attention to
      screen to be alerted that their stop is coming "so they can get off."

      And get away.

      <----article ends here---->

      Ralph Nader founded Commercial Alert in 1998 to keep the commercial
      culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting
      children and subverting the higher values of family, community,
      environmental integrity and democracy. Commercial Alert's website is

      Commercial Alert's materials are distributed electronically via the
      commercial-alert mailing list <commercial-alert@...>.
      subscribe to the commercial-alert mailing list, go to
      <http://lists.essential.org/mailman/listinfo/commercial-alert> or send
      the word "subscribe" to <alert@...>.

      Gary Ruskin | gary@...
      Commercial Alert | Congressional Accountability Project
      http://www.commercialalert.org | http://www.congressproject.org
      phone: 202.296.2787 or 503.295.6916


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      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "billt44hk" <telomsha@n...>
      > To: <carfree_cities@y...>
      > Sent: Friday, May 17, 2002 3:14 PM
      > Subject: [carfree_cities] Captive Audience TV Advertising on public
      > transport
      > Up until now those of us living in Hong Kong thought we were the
      > ones to be subjected to this, but seems its already starting up in
      > the USA. See
      > http://essential.org/pipermail/commercial-alert/2001/000071.html
      > Make no mistake about it the hucksters do indeed market this as
      a "a
      > platform to get your product over to a captive audience."
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