Monday, June 09, 2008

Are Gas Station Pump Video Screens Legal in Toronto?

That certainly seems to be in question, according to Spacing Toronto - with information provided by IllegalSigns.ca.

Here is some correspondence [PDF] between Howard Moscoe and the Chair and Members of the Planning and Growth Management Committee. This correspondence came in February, a week or so after the city attempted to have sign laws changed to permit the installation of video signs at gas stations without a permit [PDF]:

In the interim I [Howard Moscoe] received complaints that Esso had installed video display advertising signs on its gas pumps which in addition to gas pumped commercials at its customers. All of these were installed without permits. The building department ordered them turned off and they were instructed to apply for sign permits. They complied but after about six months they were again turned on.

Imperial Oil (Esso) was quoted in the media accusing the city of a “cash grab” which seemed rather strange given that Imperial Oil generated some $3.2 Billion in Profits last year. The city has been talking about taxing third party advertising(billboards) and all of these gas pump videos are exactly that.

GSTV (Gas Station TV) reports that it has inked a deal with CBS to bring news and entertainment at television-equipped fuel pumps. The company has 5,000 screens on fuel pumps in more than 300 cities. Esso has 400 stations in Ontario about half of them in the Toronto Area. Add to that the 205 Petro Canada Stations in the Toronto Area and the 200 Shell Stations and it looks like a lot of potential ad revenue.
It seems that if there are video screens at gas station pumps in the City of Toronto, they are there without a permit. If that's true, it would be unfortunate to use that media to get a political message out.

Kady (Inside the Queensway) has more.

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