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  • Uber has bought ad-tech company Adomni and has created a whole new wing of its business dedicated to putting advertising on cars, Adweek reports.
  • Initially Uber will run a pilot test in three US cities, placing advertising car-toppers on 1,000 vehicles. The pilot will run until April 1.
  • This marks a major new stream of revenue for the ridehailing giant, which is yet to become profitable. 
  • Last week Axios reported that rival Lyft had acquired car-top ad-tech company Halo cars.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Uber cars are going to start carrying video ads.

Adweek reports that Uber bought ad-tech company Adomni, and plans to put ad-displays on top of 1000 vehicles in three cities by the end of March.

According to Adweek the acquisition will also create a whole new advertising unit within Uber named Uber OOH (Out of House) Powered by Adomni.

A pilot scheme will be available to drivers in Atlanta, Dallas, and Phoenix and will run until April 1 when commercial advertisers will have the chance to put their ads on the car-toppers. Until then, only government-funded Ad Council  ads will be allowed to run.

Drivers who take part in the pilot scheme will be paid $300 to install an ad-display plus $100 for every week they drive more than 20 hours with it on. After April 1 however they’ll be paid based on the hours they drive.

Initially advertisers will have to manually buy their ad-space directly from Uber OOH, but after May 1 the company will introduce programmatic advertising.

“After exploring this idea for over a year now, we realized that the timing is perfect to launch this new ad network and we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Adomni,” head of Uber OOH Brett Baker said in a statement.

Adomni CEO Jonathan Gudai said the company was looking to utilise video advertising on the car-toppers, and according to Adweek the displays will show different ads depending on geolocation and time of day.

“We have all of these other screens — many of them outdoor — that are connected to our system, so advertisers can not only buy the Uber screens, but they can also have it stitched to have their story connected to the big screens,” Gudai added.

This marks a whole new revenue stream for the ride-hailing giant, which has struggled in the past to show how it will actually turn a profit. When Uber filed for its IPO in 2019 it admitted that it may never be profitable. More recently the company has sounded more optimistic, predicting in its Q4 results that it will hit profitability by the end of this year — although experts told Business Insider that Uber’s definition of “profitability”was misleading.

News of Uber’s new advertising push also comes less than a week after Axios reported that rival ride-sharing company Lyft signed a deal with car-top advertising startup Halo Cars.

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