TfL revenue further hit by advertising shortfall

Transport for London’s finances have taken a real hit since the Coronavirus restrictions were introduced last March, with a huge drop in fare revenue leading to a series of central government bailouts adding up to more than £4 billion. But now figures show that advertising revenue has fallen too, meaning the operator has missed out on another £100 million of funds

London’s financial paper City AM reports the drop in journeys, which reached 90% at one point, caused advertisers to withdraw from the 100,000 billboards, posters and panels that span TfL’s Tube, rail and bus network – so much so that its commercial income plummeted by more than two thirds to £50m in the year to the end of March.

Before the pandemic hit, TfL recorded annual commercial revenue growth to £158.3m in 2019.

“The glib answer is that ‘it is what it is’, but that it is a hell of a lot better than it could have been,” TfL’s customer and revenue director Chris Macleod told the Guardian.

“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.”

(Picture – Highways News)

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