Commuters using The Cloud’s free Wi-Fi in Network Rail, First Great Western, Glasgow subway and London Overground stations will be directed to a content portal featuring the latest news, sport and travel information from Sky alongside advertising from brands, such as Greggs.
Brands will be able to host location-based video advertising tailored to device and time of day, while news and sport information will be provided by Sky News and Sky Sports News.
The portal will roll out to 52 stations by the end of July in order to capitalise on interest in the Olympics with videos featuring the latest new from the Games.
Vince Russell, managing director at The Cloud, said: "It’s a great opportunity in July and August because this will reach people who will want to keep up with the Olympics. This is going to be returning a heck of a lot of people."
Real-time local and national travel news will include an up-to-the-minute Tube departure board, a TfL journey planner and information on service disruptions.
The service will launch on 15 June in Euston Station and will be rolled out to 111 stations by the autumn.
Martin Kibler, trading and marketing director at Greggs, said: "The amount of time people spend on their smartphones is growing – and many of them are more likely to spend time on their phone than with a newspaper when they drink their coffee.
"This new ad platform is a great way to reach these customers during key times of the day and offer them attractive reasons to remain loyal to the Gregg’s brand."
Greggs also uses The Cloud’s Wi-Fi in its stores and Russell said it has struck a "payment in kind" deal to host advertising on the new content portal available in stations.
Though the content portal is only available in stations initially The Cloud is preparing to roll it out beyond those locations.
Russell said: "We have a portfolio deal with Land Securities providing services in all 26 of their malls.
"There’s a whole bunch of different verticals where we could customise this and provide something very interesting for those environments. "
Other partners to use The Cloud’s Wi-Fi in-store include PizzaExpress, Caffè Nero, Eat, Pret A Manger and Wagamama, which could lead to brands becoming media owners by selling advertising space on its in-store Wi-Fi to other partners.
Russell said: "It is a possibility if that’s how they want the service to exist, but the ad also provides an opportunity to market some of their own products and services."
Sky Media will be the sales house for advertising on the content portal.
Russell explained The Cloud did not end up with the London Underground Wi-Fi contract because it did not want to adapt the business model it has developed.
Instead the contract went to Virgin Media, which is providing the service free during the Olympics and Paralympics but will charge for the service once the Games come to an end.
Russell said: "Everybody who was involved in that tender built their own commercial model that they thought would underwrite the large cheque they would have to write to TFL."
"[Virgin Media] found the model that seems to work for them and we have a slightly different model across our estate and we are not going to bend our entire business model to fit London Underground."
Follow Matthew Chapman at @mattchapmanUK
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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