Uber strikes deal to include New York yellow taxis in cartop ad network
Uber is bringing its out-of-home ad network to the Big Apple by partnering with an unlikely ally.
The ride-hailing brand has inked a deal with the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade that will allow it to put digital ads on top of 3,500 New York City taxicabs, marking a rare collaboration between Uber and traditional taxis that compete fiercely for riders.
Uber formed an out-of-home ad division in early 2020 in partnership with Adomni, a programmatic advertising platform, but until now the ads were confined to Uber cars. The cartop digital ad screens are connected to the internet, allowing advertisers to make programmatic buys that can run ads based on the time of day or geographic location of the ads. At present, Uber Out of Home operates in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Phoenix where Uber drivers can get a cut of ad fees.
The New York deal represents the first time Uber Out of Home has struck a deal with traditional taxis. Uber and Lyft are not allowed to deploy cartop ads, according to New York City regulations. So, the deal with the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade (MTBOT), the largest yellow cab taxi trade association in New York, offers one of the few ways Uber can tap into the city’s sizable out-of-home market. The 3,500 cabs covered by the arrangement represent more than 25% of the total taxi fleet in New York City, according to Uber Out of Home.
MTBOT representative Michael Woloz says that while taxis and Ubers compete, “there are opportunities to work together [and] advertising turns out to be one of them.” He did not share financial terms of the deal but says, “we’ve negotiated as a group to get not only the best rates but the best relationship with an advertising partner. This time around that converged with Uber and Adomni.”
Adomni, which is Uber OOH’s exclusive ad sales and programmatic tech partner, envisions connecting the cartop ads to other digital signage in New York that can be bought programmatically. So, a brand can run similar messages on taxi cabs, as well as digital displays on the subway system, in Times Square and in the city’s LinkNYC Wi-Fi kiosks—and have the ads targeted geographically and for a certain time of day.
Brands “can tell a story across multiple screen formats in like three clicks online in a self-service way,” says Adomni CEO Jonathan Gudai.
Adomni expects the first digitized taxicabs ads to roll out in May 2021, with an estimated 1,500 cabs online by the fall. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission must still approve the cartop ad hardware and designs.
This story has been updated with more details on what the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission must approve.