TV Gets a Ticket to Ride
By Susanna Hamner

(Business 2.0) – Sensory experiences on the subway aren't necessarily a good thing. But riders in Atlanta will soon have a welcome diversion: television. This summer the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority--the country's ninth-largest public transit system--is embedding 1,150 15-inch flat-panel TV screens in the walls of its train cars. Designed by New York-based startup the Rail Network, the system lets viewers watch local news and listen to audio over FM radios and cell phones.

Now other transit systems--including those in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C.--are in talks with the startup to go after the millions of advertising dollars such arrangements could reap. During commercial breaks on Atlanta's local TV news, for example, the Rail Network will sell 30-second spots for $5,000 and share the proceeds with MARTA; the railway is guaranteed at least $20 million over the next decade. Already, big advertisers such as Cadillac and MetroPCS have signed on to pitch the riders. All aboard? -- SUSANNA HAMNER