Dayton, OH — Commuter Advertising, the contracted provider of digital onboard media for Pace Suburban Bus Service, struck a deal this week to acquire mobile technology company CommuteStream. The acquisition will unify Commuter Advertising’s existing national transit footprint and CommuteStream’s transit-focused mobile ad network to accelerate the build-out of the first online transit media marketplace.
The marketplace will enable Chicago-area business owners and media agencies to buy hyper-targeted place-based transit media on an easy-to-use platform.
“Today’s advertiser wants targeted avenues to reach key audiences in the right place,” said Commuter Advertising founder and CEO Russ Gottesman. “By analyzing commuter habits and using geo-targeted data, the marketplace will enable advertisers to reach consumers in specific places with a high degree of efficiency—one that’s never been available with transit media before.”
“Pace is always looking for creative ways to increase our non-farebox revenue, and our partnership with Commuter Advertising does so while connecting our customers with local businesses,” said Pace Chairman of the Board Richard Kwasneski. “We’re excited about the opportunities presented by Commuter Advertising’s new online platform and look forward to the revenue solutions it provides our system.”
Commuter Advertising was founded by two Chicago natives who, while commuting through Chinatown onboard Chicago’s El, came up with the idea to broadcast messages from local business owners to local commuters using onboard technology. Six years and several international patents later, the firm now offers local businesses an array of digital transit media, including its signature audio and visual LED text scroll commercials onboard Pace buses. Media sales are split with Pace to help keep fares low and maintain service levels.
“Transit authorities are faced with financial uncertainty, yet ridership is at record highs,” said Commuter Advertising founder and CEO Russ Gottesman. “Commuter Advertising continues to develop solutions that address the untapped value in transit for the benefit of all involved. Joining forces with CommuteStream strengthens our place as the leader in bringing innovative transit media ideas to market.”
CommuteStream’s co-founders Samuel Pro and David Rogers, both Chicago-area residents, will join the Commuter Advertising leadership team as CTO and Director of User Experience, respectively. The co-founders developed a proven mobile ad network through which transit app publishers monetize user experiences with targeted, predictive, hyper-local advertising messages. Additionally, CommuteStream’s entire Chicago-based sales team will join Commuter Advertising.
“Transit has become a mobile experience,” said Pro. “Riders regularly use smartphones to optimize their commutes, accessing vehicle arrival times, alerts and trip planning—with the next generation of transit apps providing even more functionality. The CommuteStream ad network is designed specifically to be the most effective way to monetize the apps that provide these services. We have long seen powerful parallels with Commuter Advertising and are thrilled to take our transit media concepts to the next level together.”
The CommuteStream mobile ad network is live today, with advertisers including Sears and Subway reaching commuters via publishers like Transit Stop: CTA, Chicago’s most popular iOS transit app, and Chicago’s first ever transit app, Chicago Transit Tracker Lite.
“Monetizing niche apps to their fullest potential isn’t easy,” said Jason Shah, creator of Chicago Transit Tracker Lite and transit apps for other metro regions. “Implementing CommuteStream’s software development kit was a seamless process and still allows me to use other ad networks through mediation. Per impression, CommuteStream pays tremendously more than any other network, and in addition to increasing overall revenue, the hyper-local banner ads enhance the experience for our users.”
Pro and Rogers will also lead development for transit companies seeking to build and monetize mobile apps, the next natural move for the industry according to Gottesman.
“Mobile apps are now a critical component of the public transit experience,” said Gottesman. “With CommuteStream’s technology we can offer customers, from media planners at agencies to local small business owners even more ways to get relevant, geo-targeted offers to the valuable commuter audience. At the same time we can monetize new and existing transit apps for the benefit of both transit authorities and app publishers. This extends Commuter Advertising’s track record of providing transit media solutions that integrate, and benefit, multiple transit- and technology-related entities. We’re excited to have CommuteStream ‘on-board’ and look forward to the many partnerships that will follow as a result of our new capabilities.”
About Commuter Advertising: Commuter Advertising, the world’s proprietary provider of GPS-enabled advertising onboard transit vehicles, leverages existing transit technology to broadcast paid, geo-targeted advertising. Advertising revenues are split with transit partners, helping sustain quality service and possibly preventing fare and tax increases. Commuter Advertising is headquartered in Dayton, OH and currently operates in partnership with transit authorities 10 U.S. markets reaching 130M+ riders, including: Jacksonville and Tampa, FL; Champaign and
Chicago, IL; Lexington, KY; Kansas City, MO; Rockland County, NY; and Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo, OH. Commuter Advertising is the fastest growing digital transit advertising company and continues to expand into new markets.
About CommuteStream: CommuteStream partners with mobile transit application publishers to sell and deliver in-app, predictive, location-based advertisements for businesses via an automated online media buying platform. The technology company was founded in 2011 in Chicago.