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NBC 4 New York brings video to subway riders as first Wi-Fi advertiser

NBC 4 New York, the NBC television network?s flagship station, is the first brand to advertise on the New York subway?s Wi-Fi platform, beaming video clips to connected consumers in tunnels beneath the Big Apple.

Supported by Vidicom?s Citybuzz and Kinetic Worldwide, NBC 4 New York will promote its programming every day with native video and a banner on all landing pages and welcome pages for users of the free subway Wi-Fi. The campaign, part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority?s (MTA) goal to engage millennials and make the city subway system more connected and secure, advances mobile?s diffusion into the mainstream. 

?Geo-targeting is the hottest thing in the marketplace,? said Christy Ferer, owner of Citybuzz/Vidicom. ?This means that anything mobile can enable geo-targeting in a way that traditional platforms cannot.  

?Offering mobile users the ability to jump out of the subway on their route to take advantage of a sample sale is more likely actionable than them getting email alert or a tweet when they are miles away from that sample sale,? she said. 

First advertiser
Since the Oct. 16 launch of the Transit Wireless free Wi-Fi offering in the subways, Citybuzz, a mobile Wi-Fi broadcast platform, has exclusively attracted thousands of riders who click on the video offering every day. Thirty-three percent of those viewers watch the video to completion. 

Video, every day.

The Citybuzz videos are 60-second daily video news blasts showing riders what is hot in the city, from shows and events to great deals around town. 

Citybuzz will meld NBC 4 New York?s seven-second trailers into a daily one-minute video.

Kinetic Worldwide will offer Citybuzz platforms to its roster of advertisers.

The campaign is the latest step in the rollout of wireless service to New York subway riders in conjunction with a host of Wi-Fi providers including Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T.

Phase II of the MTA?s plan to wire all 277 stations by 2017 brought Wi-Fi service to 11 Manhattan subway stations, including Grand Central and Bryant Park, and 29 stations in Queens. 

In October, Royal Caribbean sponsored the rollout to coincide with the unveiling of its new cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas, which launched from New York. Quantum of the Seas provided what Royal Caribbean claimed was a bandwith that was 500 times greater than any other ship at sea.

Over 100 miles of fiber cables were to be employed across the subway stations and 47 million riders were to be connected monthly, with phase III planning to bring 39 more stations online in spring 2015.

While many subway users will use the complementary Wi-Fi to look for directions, make plans on-the-go or get in touch with family and friends, they will also be able to call 911 or other contacts more easily in case of an emergency.

Citybuzz?s landing page marks one of the first times that Wi-Fi is using branded content. The company is ensuring that its content will be relevant to subway riders.

Seamless content
Content includes daily New York-based news and information about exciting things happening in the city, along with seamless branded content from advertisers.

New York news underground.

The branded content offers tips on topics such as local New York restaurants, which new food and beverage products to check out and where to get the best deals.

?The key to mobile advertising will be the content surrounding the advertising message,? Ms. Ferer said. ?You need to tell an audience no matter what platform it?s on something they do not know, something they need to know, or something entertaining.  

?Citybuzz is about melding brand messages into editorial environments, making their advertising truly native,? she said.  

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.