Friday, November 13–Boardwalk Tram Campaign Renewed

OCEAN CITY — What started as a trial run, will apparently become a three-year deal.

Comcast Spotlight will be helping the town increase its revenue through the sale of advertising to be run on the Boardwalk tram for the next three years, as per City Council’s unanimous vote on Tuesday at City Hall.

Last March, during discussions about cost reductions and revenue enhancements, one of the items brought to the council had to do with selling advertising space on the boardwalk trams, and at that particular meeting last spring, the council voted unanimously to partner with Comcast Spotlight for one year to see what kind of money could be made for the town.

“It was made clear at that time (back in March) by representatives of Comcast that they were facing a difficult task in selling the ad space as they were almost done with their seasonal buys,” said Public Works Director Hal Adkins on Tuesday. “But, they took that challenge, and I personally feel they did very well generating revenues of $32,200.”

With the council’s decision on Tuesday to extend the town’s 50/50 revenue split with Comcast for another three years, the boardwalk tram won’t be merely a conduit to get visitors from point A to point B, but it will also point out places to visit all over the island via short visual advertisements.

The Comcast sales force is essentially selling 30-50 second television ads on the tram, and were quite successful last season with generating revenue and placing ads, despite only having a handful of weeks to book the spots, according to town officials.

“As we head into 2010, with this additional time, we feel strongly that we can reach revenue levels of almost $50,000 next year,” said Adkins.

Back in March, the council had hinted that this year, the job could be bid out to the open market, but it appears that the town’s familiarity of the local branch, coupled with Comcast’s respectable revenue enhancing performance last season, pointed the town towards renewal rather than a request for a proposal (RFP).

The terms and conditions of last year’s contract will remain the same according to Adkins, who noted that the 50/50 split of revenue is determined after Comcast recoups production costs, and Ocean City recoups administrative costs.

Either way, the enhanced revenue may not be the most financially budget altering, but town officials noted that any additional revenue enhancement for the town and the tax payers is a bonus and using the DVD players that were already installed on the Boardwalk Trams for “safety messages” for paid advertisements was a much more efficient thing to do.