It’s getting more and more difficult to get into a Philadelphia cab that isn’t playing NBC on a screen embedded in front of the back seat. Now it will well nigh impossible to cross town without Jay Leno telling you really unfunny jokes:
The Comcast Corp.-owned TV network, in partnership with VeriFone, the payment processor, is equipping 1,200 Philadelphia taxis with video screens that stream NBC10 news updates, weather, CNBC business news, and NBCUniversal entertainment to cab hoppers.
NBC10 is expected to make the announcement Tuesday on the 1,200 taxis, up from about 100 taxis a year ago.
The venture is part of the “NBC Everywhere” initiative that aims to broaden the reach of NBC-owned TV and customize NBCUniversal content to new digital platforms. The campaign also plans for more video screens at gas stations and train stations.
The only thing that makes me happy about this development is that it’s being done “in partnership with VeriFone, the payment processor.” It’s true that most Philly cabs are supposed to take card payments; it’s also true that many Philly cabbies very strongly discourage ever using a card. It’s a pain in the butt. But I just spent a weekend in San Francisco, where the payment technology was more seamlessly integrated into the cab systems—making it a breeze to get around town without cash. If NBC’s participation somehow makes card use a little more frictionless, well, I’ll take as much Jay Leno as Comcast wants to give me. [Inquirer]