Outdoor print under threat in Sydney

Printed advertising on bus shelters, kiosks and other street furniture in Sydney may be disappearing, as the council calls for new digital street furniture to replace its existing inventory.

Sydney council is calling for expressions of interest from providers of street furniture to supply digital wi-fi enabled bus shelters, kiosks, benches, bins and toilets from 2019 when the existing contract expires.

Some bus shelters in Sydney have already replaced printed advertising with digital signage, but the new suite of furniture may well have little to no opportunity for print. The value of street furniture advertising in Sydney is not known, but it is part of the category that includes trams and buses, nationally that runs at around $60m a quarter.

[Related: Outdoor audiences up to 200,000 a day]

Lord Mayor Clover Moore says, “Eventually we could see real-time emergency, event and transport information displayed on bus shelters. We want to make sure no one is left behind in this shift to a digital future, so we’re looking for innovative local and international providers with new ideas to deliver fast and free public wifi. Across the expressions of interest, we’re looking for modern sustainable designs that use energy efficient materials and fittings.”

Advertising will be allowed, subject to development consent on a site by site basis and sales revenue will be used to fund the supply and maintenance of the new furniture. A portion of revenue will also be reserved for cultural events, to support local arts. It remains unclear how much advertising will be portioned to print and digital.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the changes would help make Sydney more attractive and accessible while meeting the needs of today’s tech-savvy commuters, residents and tourists. This is an opportunity to invest in new street furniture with a consistent style and using technologies to make it easier for people to stay informed and find their way around our city.”
 
Council says the cost of supplying, installing and maintaining the new street furniture items is estimated at less than the cost of purchasing and maintaining the existing street furniture.

Expressions of interest are open until February 6, with the contracts for both the wifi service and street furniture to be awarded around mid 2018.

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