A Birmingham company that found a way to make productive use of those few minutes you stand pumping gas has recently gone hyper-local.
In a segment called “Your Neighborhood,” the service allows people to request charity listings through Facebook.
“It’s been great,” said David Leider, 45, chief executive officer of the Birmingham-based Gas Station TV, the company that manages the TV network fed to TVs on gas station pumps.
“Bank of America is sponsoring it with us.”
Most gas customers have encountered a Gas Station TV flashing news and weather from atop a gas pump.
Begun in Oak Park in 2006, Gas Station TV also referred to GSTV, delivers 27 million monthly viewers at the pump in more than 100 markets, including Detroit.
“Your Neighborhood” debuted last year. Local charitable listings run along with short hits of sports, entertainment, weather and news.
“Content is constantly updated,” said Leider.
Leider and partners oversee a national staff of 40.
Years ago, Leider said, the oil companies tried to install devices that would provide programs at the pumps, but the move failed.
“There wasn’t the infrastructure at the time,” he said. He pointed a modern flat screen TV behind him at the company’s headquarters for one example.
By 2006, technology had caught up, he said.
The company began with a pilot program in Dallas.
“It ended up being very, very successful,” he said.
The TVs used by GSTV are military grade and able to withstand all temperatures. They are also designed to be safe around gasoline.
Leider said people think you can place a TV anywhere and generate product awareness.
He referred to grocery stores.
“But when people are there, they are on a mission and they are not going to stop and spend time watching,” he said.
At a gas pump, customers are “captured” to a rubber hose, Leider said.
“Research shows people enjoy watching at the pump,” he said.
Leider, a University of Michigan graduate, said he chose to set up shop in the Detroit area because of the talent in the region, and “it is cheaper to do business in Detroit than in L.A. or San Francisco. It made good financial sense.”
Leider had previously worked at Yahoo Inc. in sales and marketing and he had senior-level positions at several advertising agencies.
His company provides Nielsen Media Research-verified viewership, demographics, dwell time, network size and recall for media buyers.
Changes in the past decade have impacted advertising.
DVRs, which allow people to skip ads, have hurt traditional advertising, he said.
GSTV programming is G-rated, with no crime, political ads or adult content.
Leider said the company is aware that children may be watching from the cars.
He stressed GSTV doesn’t build pumps or sell gas.
“You have to understand what the advertiser is trying to accomplish,” he said.
GSTV works to “make advertisers happy, and our backgrounds in media and advertising helped us grow.”
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