ABU DHABI // Interactive touchscreens with advertisements and entertainment will greet Abu Dhabi taxi passengers this month.
The Taxi Media system uses a GPS system that tracks the taxi, so the screens can display ads according to their location and time.
Advertisers will be able to tailor their ads. For example, McDonalds can advertise breakfast in the morning, changing the advertising at lunchtime. Subway can advertise their sandwich of the day and change the creative promotion every day.
Test screens appeared in 20 taxis last month and Taxi Media expects to have 1,020 screens installed by February 1. By the end of this year, the number is expected to reach 4,220.
As taxis that are five years old are replaced, Taxi Media will be constantly installing screens in new vehicles.
It expects most of the fleet of 7,346 taxis to have screens by 2015 or 2016,
The in-cab advertising campaign will be introduced in Dubai and the Northern Emirates and other countries in the region over the next 18 months.
The screens will be the first of their kind in the UAE, and could be viewed by up to 10 million users every month once fully installed.
“Taxi transport is huge in the UAE,” said Brett Pearson, 46, the businessman who set up Taxi Media in March last year.
“A country as large as Canada has just over 15,000 taxis while Abu Dhabi and Dubai alone have a taxi fleet of over 16,000. It makes sense for taxis to be used as an advertising platform as they are widely used by the population.
“Technology is now a massive part of day-to-day life in the region and with the introduction of taxi media it will continue to grow.”
The screens have been in place in China since 2005, Canada in 2010 and Hong Kong in 2011 under the Touchmedia brand.
Mohammed Al Baloushi, a 24-year-old Emirati public relations officer, said it was a good move.
“People are using taxis all the time,” he said. “It’s a good way for passengers to learn new stuff.”
Glenn Mendez, 22, a salesman originally from the Philippines, agreed.
“It’s a unique concept,” he said. “It will certainly grab the attention of passengers looking for a new deal or a sales promotion.”