CTA to nearly triple digital advertising network under new agreement

The new contract will generate up to $247.5 million in revenue for CTA over the next five years.

Intersection has been awarded a contract from the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) after being approved by the Chicago Transit Board to manage the CTA’s static and digital advertisements across the system, continuing the agency’s efforts to boost customer information and earn revenue from other sources than the farebox. 

As part of the new agreement, Intersection will install 775 new digital screens, nearly tripling the 425 digital screens currently found across CTA’s rail system. The new screens will include large format displays; in-station and street level screens; interactive digital kiosks and a digital advertising display in every CTA station.  

“This is the latest step in our efforts to increase digital advertising revenues, while also creating new customer communication and information opportunities,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We are excited to move ahead as we expand our diverse group of outdoor digital information screens—some of which our customers are accustomed to, like train arrival times—while testing and expanding new features, like interactive touch screens.” 

The five-year base contract, which includes a five-year option, begins Jan. 1, 2020, and has an estimated value of up to $247.5 million, including: 

  • $204.6 million in shared revenues, with $187 million guaranteed to CTA; 

  • $30.3 million in capital investment in new digital screens by Intersection; and 

  • $12.6 million investment in software upgrades to run digital advertising screens that also display customer information. 

Revenue from non-farebox sources—such as advertising, concessions and charters—helps CTA hold the line on fares and maintain service levels. Digital outdoor advertising on CTA has proven very popular with advertisers, including newer additions to CTA’s outdoor advertising options, including the large format video wall at Clark/Lake in downtown Chicago and 21 interactive digital screens located at select pilot locations across the system, according to the agency. 

Over the course of its 12-year partnership with Intersection (formerly known as Titan), CTA says ad revenues increased from $17.2 million in 2010 to at least $32.4 million in 2019. 

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