Financial woes stop Underground ad project in its tracks

Viacom Outdoor’s Underground media Cross Track Projection (XTP) has been put on hold for a second time because of financial difficulties facing DHJ, the Swedish company responsible for installing and maintaining the digital advertising screens.

Although the company has not yet gone into liquidation, DHJ is no longer thought to be in a position to underwrite the costs of the project.

This is the second delay in a month for the trial of the technology, which will allow moving ads to be shown on the Underground.

XTP was supposed to have launched at Euston Underground Station on April 5, but was delayed following a technical failure. Viacom’s advertising partners were told they would have to wait until the end of April for the launch.

But Viacom has now issued a statement saying XTP will still go ahead and claiming that DHJ, which is still trading, is in negotiations with a third party to take over its responsibilities.

A new trial date has yet to be confirmed, although a Viacom spokeswoman claims these will now be in June.

Viacom, which has been planning XTP’s launch for nearly four years, has already signed up ten pioneer advertisers to run ads. These include Nestlé, Becks and Vodafone.

Viacom’s joint managing director Andrew Oldham says: “Under the circumstances, we can still take options for space but we can’t specify exact transmission dates until the XTP consortium resolves the situation.”

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