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Art on the Underground celebrates female suffrage centenary

Art on the Underground, the Transport for London public art programme, is creating a London-wide exhibition of work by women to mark 100 years since women first won the right to vote.
The work is part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new gender equality campaign “#BehindEveryGreatCity”.
It will be the first time that Art on the Underground has commissioned a year of work created only by female artists.
The artwork will be on display at street-level out-of-home sites in Brixton and Southwark, and on the cover of over 25 million Tube maps specially designed by Romanian artist Geta Bratescu and French artist Marie Jacotey.
There will also be a sculpture on a disused platform at Gloucester Road Station, created by British artist Heather Phillipson.
Eleanor Pinfield, head of Art on the Underground, said: “The spaces of our cities are not neutral, and neither is space afforded to public art. Wider social inequalities are played out in the structures of urban life.
“Through 2018, Art on the Underground will use its series of commissions to reframe public space, to allow artists’ voices of diverse backgrounds and generations to underline the message that there is no single women’s voice in art – there are however many urgent voices that can challenge the city’s structures of male power.”
Via: Campaign Live
 

Harry Potter star Emma Watson leaves books on London Underground

Harry Potter star Emma Watson has dashed around the London Underground to hide books for passengers.

The actor dropped off copies of Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom, the November pick for her online book club Our Shared Self.
The star left the novels as part of the Books On The Underground movement, which sees “book fairies” leave their favourite reads for people to enjoy.
Watson left about 100 books with some including a hand-written note.
In it, she wrote that she hoped the reader would enjoy the book, and urged them to leave it on the Tube afterwards for others to find.

“Too Fabulous” 

One Twitter user, @safaf_96, said she felt like Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when she found a book while @siannusmaximus wrote: “The book fairies get a book wizard. Too fabulous for words.”
Cordelia Oxley, director of Books on the Underground, said: “We were delighted to have Emma Watson share the latest Our Shared Shelf book club choice, and she even wrote a lovely note to go inside the books. It was Emma’s idea to be a Book Fairy for the day!
“The reaction has been phenomenal. It must be a mixture of how much everyone adores Emma, and how exciting it is to find something as wonderful as a new book on your journey.”
Watson, who was appointed UN women goodwill ambassador in July 2014, started her book club earlier this year.
Books on the Underground started in 2012 and leave about 150 books in stations across London each week.
Via: BBC

Clear Channel Drops Out of Tube Contest

Clear Channel has pulled out of the race for Transport for London’s £1 billion outdoor advertising contract for the Underground.
It will now be a shoot-out between Exterion Media, the incumbent, and JCDecaux for Europe’s most valuable outdoor ad real estate. A decision is expected next month.
Clear Channel would not comment on “specific tenders” but said it only pursues business if it will benefit clients and “drive profitable revenue”.
TfL’s eight-year contract is worth about £150 million a year, but observers said it could hit £250 million by 2024 thanks to digital and mobile growth.
Clear Channel lost TfL’s bus shelters last year to JC Decaux but pointed out it has acquired Arqiva’s payphone business and retained Sainsbury’s out-of-home ad sales.
TfL declined to comment.

Going underground – what can the Tube tell us about the future of advertising? By Glen Wilson, MD, Posterscope

For all the grumbling about the crowds, prices, temperatures, delays and the occasional crippling strike, Londoners have it pretty good with their public transport system. The services mostly run on time, are relatively reasonably priced and are certainly the easiest way to get around the city. The systems also run on a non-profit basis – all the revenues TfL produces are funnelled back into the network to improve the quality of service.
One of the most universal experiences of public transport in London is our exposure to advertising. TfL controls some of the most valuable and influential advertising inventory OOH networks in the world. Combined with the London Bus Shelter contract, the London Underground OOH contract represents 15 to 20 per cent of the UK’s total OOH market, collectively worth in excess of £1bn over the duration of the contracts. The London Underground contract is one of the biggest of its kind in the world, and demonstrates not only the power TfL holds, but also a dynamic unique to the OOH sector.
TfL is a landlord, which means that media owners must bid for the right to buy and sell ads on the network. The pitch process for the London Underground OOH contract recently opened, while the London bus shelter OOH contract has recently been awarded to JCDecaux, a change from the incumbent media owner, Clear Channel’s Adshel, for the first time in 30 years.
This relationship, in which media owners must rely heavily on winning contracts from third party landlords, is unique in the media industry to the OOH sector. The major contracts held by TfL are just the tip of the iceberg. There are roughly 7,000 individual contracts in the UK. These include local authorities controlling media space around public spaces, private companies with extensive inventory networks and individuals that happen to have a billboard on the side of their home.
However, in spite of its importance to the OOH sector, the pitch process for third party contracts isn’t nearly as well understood as that of media and advertising pitches. Huge amounts of work go into each and every contract tender, as media owners constantly seek to demonstrate to landlords the value of their expertise, the quality of their technology and the way in which they will maximise revenue for the landlord. This gives every tender the capacity to change the landscape of the OOH industry, both today and in the years to come, particularly when the tenders are for major inventory networks like TfL’s London bus shelter contract, or indeed London Underground.
The influence held by OOH landlords will be buoyed by the strong performance of the OOH industry recently. Even as traditional media’s audiences are declining, OOH audiences continue to grow. In February this year, Outdoor Media Centre found the industry had enjoyed its strongest quarter ever, with revenues close to £300m. In addition, the sector grew by 6.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014 to reach annual revenue in excess of £1 billion, with overall annual growth at three per cent. OOH also saw higher growth than any other media industry over the last decade, apart, of course, from online.
With performance so strong, bidders for the London Underground contract will need to demonstrate how the industry’s success and growth will be reflected in the revenues they can generate. TfL is a public body, and as such has a responsibility to the taxpayer. It currently has a goal to generate £3.4bn in non-fare revenue. This means that the more revenue contract bidders can promise TfL the more likely they’ll achieve their goal, and thus the more likely the pitch will be successful. However, there are challenges media owners must address when credibly promising an increase in revenue. TfL’s inventory is predominantly fixed – the number of buses, bus shelters, tube trains and stations isn’t going to change too much over the next decade, so the amount of advertising inventory is unlikely to increase either.
Instead, successful bidders will need to focus on the one factor that can change, and provide real additional value – innovation. Delivering new exciting, high value, easily accessible, dynamic advertising propositions that resonate with the public is how media owners will be able to differentiate their offering. Innovation gives bidders a credible way to demonstrate how greater value can be driven through OOH media, by enabling campaigns to be more impactful, more engaging and more relevant to consumers.
That the purity of media innovation alone can be so influential to a successful OOH contract pitch shows how unique the dynamic of third party contracts is for the industry. However, it also forces the industry to consistently put its neck out, to push boundaries and break new ground. It transforms those of us working in the sector into pioneers, a cultural necessity that has a fantastic impact for advertisers.

Tfl and ESPN FC to Display World Cup Updates on London Underground

Transport for London (Tfl) has partnered with ESPN’s football website, ESPN FC, to deliver football results to London Underground commuters during the World Cup – marking the first time the transport body has signed a commercial partnership.
The partnership will see Tfl and ESPN FC bring news, results and score updates from the games to more than 140 stations via overhead platform boards and 400 service update boards displayed at station entrances.
As part of the partnership, which launches on 12 June, ESPN FC will run an advertising campaign on the home page and journey planner section of the Tfl website, as well as experiential activity involving football freestylers at Stratford, Charing Cross and Tottenham Court Road stations later this week.
Via: The Drum

NFC Payments to Be Tested on the London Underground

Oyster card readers have been updated with the tech to allow travellers to tap through using just their mobile.
Transport for London is reportedly readying itself to launch mobile payments using the NFC chips in a device, reports Cellular News.
Contactless payment solutions are already available with the transport authority that uses its own MiFare payments cards, and recently added support for contactless debit cards.
The current Oyster card readers – which use RFID technology – have been given the NFC treatment, which will allow travellers to tap in and out using just their mobile device.
Shashi Verma, director of customer experience with TfL, commented: “We are doing some testing to see how the devices perform on the system and welcome any new payment technologies that meet the relevant industry standards and enable sufficiently fast transaction speeds.”
It is expected that travellers would need to top up their mobile wallet, similar to how they use an Oyster card.
London buses are also expected to move over to contactless payments, ditching cash transactions completely.
Via: Mobile Entertainment