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Imax underground with billboard deal

Giant-screen movie co. to supply billboards for Tube

TORONTO — Giant-screen movie company Imax has inked a $15 million deal to supply 400 digital billboards for the London Underground subway network.

Deal grew out of a collaboration between Imax subsid Digital Projection Intl. and Sweden’s DHJ Media to develop and install the high-tech billboards, called Outdoor Evolution Systems. Imax is supplying the digital projectors and DHJ provides the network, billing, scheduling and distribution functions.

Cash flow

The billboards promise to bring in more revenues than the traditional variety because they can be changed at the flick of a switch, allowing them to be more quickly and specifically targeted.

“A digital billboard can display moving images such as movie trailers, and show multiple advertisements every hour,” said Imax co-CEO Rich Gelfond. “It can advertise coffee in the morning, retail shopping in the afternoon and show a preview of that night’s television lineup during the evening rush hour.”

The London Underground will have about 100 screens installed by the end of the year, with the rest to follow within 24 months. Viacom subsid TDI Outdoor will handle the ad sales.

Imax and DHJ also announced plans to target their Outdoor Evolution Systems to North American transit systems, shopping malls and theater chains.

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