Miércoles 14 de Junio de 2006, Ip nº 157

What's on TV at the gas pump today?
TV seems to be everywhere these days. At the supermarket, the mall and now, thanks to a Michigan-based start-up company, the gas pump.

Gas Station TV, based in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park, has been testing its service for several months in Dallas, Tex., with TV monitors installed above gas pumps that show short clips of news, weather and traffic and, of course, advertising.

This fall, the company plans to expand the program to a total of 100 gas stations in Dallas, Houston and Atlanta, all owned by Murphy Oil USA, which operates stations at Wal-Mart stores.

Walt Disney Co.'s ABC will sell ads for the screens and also provide local news, weather and other programming, mainly from ABC's locally affiliated TV stations.

David Leider, a former marketing executive at Yahoo Inc. who is the company's chief executive, says they are focused on making the programming useful to users and tailored to the average length of time it takes to fill up with gas: about four minutes.

There's no word on whether the TV screens are bound for Canadian pumps.

Since gas pumpers won't be able to switch off the video, keeping it relevant and engaging is key, Leider said.

"Pumping gas is boring and mundane," Leider said. "We live in a very can't-sit-still, multi-stimulus environment. We are convinced that people will be very favourable to this experience at the gas station.''

In March, CBS Corp. signed up to become a programming partner with a company that has video screens installed in 1,300 U.S. supermarkets.

  06/06/2006. The Star.