Dayton business inks new contract in biggest market

Since 2008, the company has grown from a contract with a single transit company — the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority — to 15 contracts in 13 U.S. markets. And Russ Gottesman, Commuter Ad’s president and chief executive, expects the growth to continue. That includes another new contract in Des Moines, Iowa.

MARTA has about 65 million bus rides a year. (One passenger ride from point A to point B is counted as one bus ride, which his how Commuter Ads measures its reach.)

In the past year, the company has increased its rides-per-year reach from 145 million to more than 250 million.

“What’s nice is we’ve created this national footprint that has paid millions to transit agencies,” Gottesman said. “We’ve begun to start receive phone calls from international markets.” He plans a visit to a technology conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, in September.

The business delivers GPS-targeted digital ads to captive bus riders at strategic points along routes. A fast food franchise, for example, could have an ad delivered wirelessly at a bus stop near a restaurant location.

Ad revenue is shared with transit companies, which has boosted the business model, company leaders say. Last November, Commuter Ads celebrated $1 million of revenue paid over time to Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA).

Local advertisers have included Sinclair Community College, CareSource and many others. Commuter Ads is also launching a programmatic buying tool, allowing customers to buy targeted ads online.

The business was launched in Chicago, moved to Dayton’s Entrepreneur’s Center and is now in Oakwood.

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