Bus TV to Get Better in Shanghai

Bus passengers will soon be able to watch Michael Jordan's basketball wizardry or enjoy singer Celine Dion on MTV on their trips around the city.

Next month, Shanghai Bashi Industrial (Group) Co. Ltd., the city's largest public transport company, will begin broadcasting digital TV programs on all 21 of its No. 920 buses, which ply downtown Huaihai and Nanjing roads.

An estimated 5,000 digital TV sets are expected to be installed on the firm's other bus lines by the year's end to create a "refreshing and pleasant riding experience for passengers," the company said.

Shanghai Media Group, operator of the city's main TV and radio stations, and Shanghai Oriental Pearl Co. Ltd., operator of Asia's tallest broadcasting tower, are the other two initiators of the project. They will supply news, weather forecasts, stock updates and entertainment programs from 11 local channels, Bashi Group said.

It's the first trial for carrying digital TV shows on public buses. Currently, only programs in VCD mode are available on buses in a few cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Changchun.

"This is our latest attempt to further develop our operations," said Wang Liqun, general manager of Bashi Group. "The trial, we believe, will not only give passengers a more pleasant riding experience, but also bring us considerable profits through TV commercials."

Company officials said they expect to glean roughly 20 million yuan (US$2.4 million) per year from TV commercials shown on the buses, even though the sound will be turned off during the ads to avoid annoying passengers. Each of the firm's 5,000 buses can earn 4,000 yuan (US$ 483.85) annually in ad revenue, they said.

So far, market response has been quite positive, Wang said.

"It will be good if I can get some news or listen to some music on my way to work," said Richard Li, a 26-year-old engineer at a local telecommunications company. "I believe passengers will be happy if some relaxing programs can be introduced."

Over the long term, company officials hope to further expand the digital TV service to Metro trains and even taxis if the bus trials prove successful.

(eastday.com March 23, 2002)

In This Series



Web Link