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CBS holds on to Los Angeles County MTA advertising contract

December 13, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • CBS used billboards in Los Angeles to make its case for keeping the MTA advertising contract.
CBS used billboards in Los Angeles to make its case for keeping the MTA advertising… (CBS )

This post has been corrected. See below for details.

CBS has won an at-times bitter fight to hold on to its contract to sell advertising on Los Angeles County buses and trains.

The board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Agency voted 7-2 Thursday to approve CBS' bid of $110 million for a five-year renewal agreement that will start in 2013. CBS has held the contract for more than 30 years.

CBS faced competition from outdoor advertising company Titan, which bid $117 million in an effort to snag the contract. Although the MTA staff had twice recommended that CBS be awarded the contract, Titan successfully appealed to the agency's board. 

Although Titan's bid was higher, CBS aggressively made the case that it was a better bet to deliver on the contract. Titan was hampered by problems it had in 2009 and 2010 when it lost its contract with New York City's transit agency and renegotiated at lower fees deals it had in San Francisco and Boston.

Despite the recommendation of the MTA staff, CBS took no chances and blanketed the Los Angeles area with ads on billboards touting how much money the company spends here and how many people it employs.

Titan, which has won several contracts away from CBS, tried to make the case that it was on solid financial ground now and that the reason for the renegotiations were due to the flagging economy and not because of any fundamental flaws at the company.


MTA to decide contract Thursday

CBS and Titan in fight for LA MTA ad contract

MTA staff reiterates backing of CBS for advertising contract

Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.

A previous version of this post misstated the amounts of the bids by CBS and Titan.

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