Recently The New York Times added sponsored content to their mobile app The Scoop. The app had already been advertising for New York City's bike sharing service, Citi Bike, but decided to add the app to The Scoop.
Citi, which is The Scoop's official sponsor, created the Citi Bike app to allow users to locate nearby Citi Bike stations, view the availability of bikes, and get biking directions to events and restaurants. The integration of the Citi Bike app marks a new era of The New York Times advertising as it steps into using sponsored content
Denise Warren, The New York Times' executive VP of Digital Products and Services Group was quoted saying:
“This is just one example of how we are working more closely with our advertisers to create unique and custom campaigns to help them tell their brand story in innovative ways,”
He went on to say:
“The integration of Citi Bike’s robust content complements The Scoop app’s main objective—to serve as a guide to New York City. With these new features we hope to further enhance the experience for users of The Scoop as they explore the city using their iPhone.”
So what does this mean for Boston's own bike sharing service known as Hubway? It means opportunity. Currently Hubway isn't associated with any sources that provide a guide to Boston. However if it did, they could be on their way to their own sponsored content. One possible partner could be The Boston Globe. This would be a logical choice since The Globe is still owned by The Times. As of now, The Globe's app is just an e-paper, so for this to become a realization The Globe would need a more social app modeled after The Scoop.
Hubway doesn't seem to be set up to become sponsored content, yet. As Hubway continues to grow so will its advertising opportunities. The New York Times adding Citi Bike to its app opened the gateway to sponsored content for Hubway, and I look forward to see how Hubway reacts.
What do you think? Is this an opportunity for Hubway? Who would be a good partner for the bike sharing company?