Transport for London (TfL), the agency responsible for the city’s transportation system, said that restricted movement due to the pandemic has dropped its advertising revenue by 100 million pounds ($138 million) as the numbers of people commuting decrease, The Guardian reported on Monday.
“It has been likened to reverse marketing. Essentially, we sell eyeballs as a commercial package, and when we encouraged people to follow government guidelines and not travel, that, of course, hurt us. From an anti-marketing point of view, it was a great success, passenger numbers on the tube fell 90%. But the read-across to the commercial world was, of course, not great,” the customer and revenue director at TfL, Chris Macleod, was quoted as saying.
According to the news outlet, the decline in commercial revenue has caused a funding shortfall of 900 million pounds for the agency this year. Since the pandemic began, the transport authority has received emergency funding worth 4 billion pounds from the government.
Last year, it was reported that approximately 1,448 government, political and social campaigns were used on the network, followed by 1,207 retail ads, and 1,029 promoting entertainment and leisure.
Presently, with advertisements gradually rising to their pre-pandemic levels as people begin to travel again, the agency expressed optimism that ad levels may be at 80% on average of its pre-pandemic level by March next year.
TfL is ordinarily self-sufficient as it bases its budget on ticket fares, but the COVID-19 pandemic and government measures to curb it have shrunk TfL’s inflow by 90%. Traffic remains low since public transport is seen as a major avenue for coronavirus transmissions.