October 5, 2008 7:32 pm

Media Metrica cleans up with City news channel

A London start-up has clinched a deal to put 100 pairs of video screens broadcasting an “outdoor financial channel” on to the streets of the Square Mile.

The screens will be housed on the sides of bomb-proof recycling units for newspapers, cans and bottles, located near large employers, busy junctions and Tube stations.

Media Metrica has agreed a 15-year contract with the City of London Corporation to deploy the units free of charge in return for the right to operate the on-street information channel, which will be called Renew.

The company, which has been working on the idea for six years, now needs to secure a sponsor to put the units, which cost about £30,000 each, on to the streets by autumn next year.

Kaveh Memari, the chief executive and co-founder, said the units’ blast technology had been thoroughly tested to prove they would be safe. The City removed its litter bins at the height of IRA attacks because they were target points for terrorist bombs.

Mr Memari is aiming to sign a high-profile sponsor for the project within six months and said the scheme was a good opportunity for brand exposure given the lack of outdoor advertising in the Square Mile.

Brian James, his co-founder, said: “With 100 units on premium pedestrian routes, Renew will be an important communications network to reach the financial community.

“We expect to launch the first units on the streets of the City within the next 12 months, and are actively in discussions with corporations regarding the various different levels of sponsorship.”

Mr Memari said the concept was attractive to public authorities because “it’s a private public infrastructure investment that’s not going to cost them anything”.

The company hopes to roll out the concept to other financial centres, concentrating next on securing a deal in New York, once it has got the London video screens and recycling units operating. It has just completed a feasibility study for lower Manhattan.

Media Metrica has been through four rounds of financing, raising “a couple of million pounds”, and has 30 shareholders as well as working with partners on testing its technology. “We have been shoe-stringing this project for six years,” Mr Memari said.

Philip Everett, director of environmental services at the City of London Corporation, said: “The City of London will be the first region in the world to embrace this exciting new platform.

“The introduction of Renew will not only help the City increase its on-street recycling rates further still, but also keep City workers, commuters and pedestrians up to date with the latest business and other information.”

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