LONDON: Transport for London (TfL) could become a media owner to rival broadcaster ITV, if the head of Exterion Media succeeds in his ambitions to revolutionise out-of-home advertising by using passenger data.

"If you look at the online world, most revenue is getting hoovered up by Facebook and Google and then you have the big TV players," said Shaun Gregory.

"That competitive angle has almost been taken out of the market," he told The Drum. "I think we're providing something new and fresh that can inject some much-needed competition in the market," he added.

If Gregory's plans are realised, the local government body responsible for the transport system in Greater London could be generating £3.4bn in commercial revenue within the next seven years.

Earlier this year Exterion won the contract to oversee advertising across the TfL network and indicated that passenger data and digital billboards would be central to the future.

At the heart of it is how the tool is overlaying data mined from the turnstiles at each tube station, spliced with data from contactless card data alongside other third parties.

Exterion's Audience Behavioural Insights (ABI) tool is then able to identify the audience type desired by advertisers and agencies and target it across more than 400 stations for the first time.

According to Gregory, ABI will allow advertisers to look at up to ten stations that reach their specific audience: "that's a completely different way of doing things in OOH," he said. "We're mining an audience based of tens of millions."

From next year, Exterion will also enable advertisers to buy advertising across the network programmatically.

All that, he believes, puts TfL into a different category from other OOH media owners: "in my mind the competition are the big players in TV and online."

A Warc paper, What we know about Out of Home audiences, notes that combining the creative flexibilities of digital OOH with the audience selective capabilities of programmatic can create highly relevant and personalised campaigns.

BMW, for example, combined a bespoke technology platform with trained and strategically placed human spotters so that messages on five digital billboards along a busy London road were tailored to individual Mini drivers based on the colour and model of their car.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff