Train stations are a unique opportunity for out-of-home media, bringing both regular commuter and diverse tourism traffic as well as the possibility of extended dwell times. And when you marry up stations across a region or an entire country, interesting new options for creative can be developed.

Grandi Stazioni Retail manages both advertising and retail across 14 major Italian railway stations and delivers two million people a day to advertisers, according to Marco Orlendi, operations & product innovation manager, media & advertising at the business, which was privatised in 2016 (it had been 60%-owned by Italian state railways company Ferrovie dello Stato). The retail/advertising combination makes it a “great laboratory” for understanding and exploring the links between screens and shopping, he told the European OOH Media Summit (London, May 2018). “We’re focused on data and innovation,” he said.

The organisation is an innovative retail hub, he explained, and one that sees stations not only as vital access points to cities but also as city squares. The former is certainly a reality with 750 million people a year passing through its various precincts, split roughly evenly between men and women (54:46); the latter ambition is taking shape as the business reconfigures what it can offer travellers - and others - within its environs.

Marrying data with screens