Technology

Uber will put signs with ads on top of some cars, giving drivers and Uber a new way to make money

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Uber is launching a way for advertisers to display ads atop its vehicles, giving drivers a new way to earn additional income. It could also be a new revenue driver for Uber, which said in its Q4 2019 earnings that it hopes to be profitable in Q4 2020.

The new network, called “Uber OOH,” will launch in partnership with Adomni, an online platform for digital out-of-home advertising. The units will feature two-sided, internet-connected screens on participating Uber drivers’ vehicles.

The announcement comes a few days after Lyft said it had acquired Halo Cars, which lets ride-hailing drivers make money from car-top ad displays.

The network will launch in Atlanta, Phoenix and Dallas to start in April starting with 1,000 vehicles equipped with digital screens. On the website for Uber OOHt, Uber says the program will be available in Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco later in 2020.

Uber said it can geofence creative content “for the ideal audience,” which means it can show specific ads for places that are nearby. Adomni said in a release that advertisers will be able to display one ad on the car and a nearby billboard at the same time. So, a car in Times’ Square might, theoretically, show the same ads you see on nearby buildings.

Adweek, which first reported the news on Monday, said that though independent contractors driving with Uber could previously install ad displays on their vehicles from third-party operators, this is the first time Uber has offered an ad platform of its own. Drivers were previously able to work with companies like Firefly, for example, which said last May it was paying full-time drivers $300 a month for displaying their advertisements.

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Adweek said that Uber drivers will receive $300 for installing the unit and another $100 each week they drive more than 20 hours during the pilot period, and after which drivers will be paid based on how many hours they drive.

Uber didn’t respond to requests for details Monday afternoon.

Adomni said ad inventory will be available for purchase on Uber and Adomni’s websites during the pilot period; in the second quarter of this year, it will be programmatically available through demand-side platforms like Amobee and Zeta Global.

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