MANCHESTER: Google, O2 and Vodafone are among the major advertisers that have signed up for the launch of CityLive, a network of state-of-the-art interactive digital touchscreens in Manchester city centre.

A total of ten interactive 'kiosks', known as MiGuides, introduced by the local council and MediaCo Outdoor, the out-of-home media business, will provide instant local information for passers-by and be paid for advertising.

Scanners will monitor onlookers to identify their approximate age and gender and then serve up relevant advertisements for that demographic, in a model similar to that recently launched by Tesco at its petrol filling stations.

Richard Blackburn, the commercial director of MediaCo Outdoor, told MediaWeek that advertisers could both track and update campaigns in real time. "We want to provide the best digital canvas for creativity. Brands can update creative according to response," he said.

They would also be able to tailor campaign costs by inputting a budget into the CityLive planner to find what a campaign would look across a booked period.

The development was welcomed by the advertising industry. "Being able to effectively integrate with other aspects of digital marketing is a crucial factor for the continued success of Digital OOH. CityLive enables this," said James Davies strategic development partner at Posterscope.

Local councillor Coun Nigel Murphy told the Manchester Evening News: "Manchester is intent on becoming one of the world's leading digital cities and one aspect of that is innovations such as MiGuide which use the latest technology to improve people's experience of the city."

He expected that content would keep growing "and we'll keep looking at imaginative ways which people can use the screens to interact with the city".

The CityLive initiative is expected to reach 5.2m adult impacts every two weeks and the people behind the project now hope it will take off in other UK cities.

Data sourced from Manchester Evening News, Media Week; additional content by Warc staff