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gstv-pump-pic-300When the unlikely business was launched in 2006 – CEO David Leider and its cofounders, had no idea that when they decided to install TV screens on gas pumps – they would end up in 3,000 stations in 45 states, 52-million viewers per month and triple their growth with advertisers.

And when Detroit-based Rockbridge Growth Equity, along with Quicken Loans chairman Dan Gilbert became one of its major investors, purchasing GSTV, it was just a matter of time before they would become a part of Detroit’s emerging business sector. By June, the Birmingham-based company will make its new headquarters the former Kresge building in downtown Detroit located at 1201 Woodward.

Leider said to the Detroit Free Press that GSTV was outgrowing its headquarters space in Birmingham, and that it just made since to move to Detroit. As soon as they closed on the sale of GSTV, they were looking for a home in Detroit.

They’re all over the place – the screen that gives you a five minute infomercial of news and entertainment – while you fill up your tank. Stations pay nothing for the GSTV installations and the business model is 100% advertiser supported.

“Of people watching TV at home, only 81% drive or own a car, with us it’s 100%,” Leider said. “We have big partnerships with auto insurance companies; 100% of drivers, everyone in our audience, have to have insurance.”

GSTV is not a new concept. In the late 90’s, oil companies played with the idea. However, the timing just happened to be bad. TV’s were still very expensive and technology just wasn’t as advanced as it is today. Not to mention the oil companies wanted the retailers to pay for the costly installations.

But by the mid-2000s, the price of TV’s became reasonable and Leider and his cohorts agreed to a 90-day pilot program in five gas stations and Wal-Mart stores in the Dallas area – immediately they had a hit on their hands. And while GSTV has some competition in the TV-at-the-pump market place – they are still the market leader by a long shot.

“We knew within 45 days that we had a winner,” Leider said to the Free Press. “Sure, it’s only 5 minutes, but there’s no DVR, no one can fast-forward through the ads we have. Engagement levels are high. People watching TV at home are watching three or four things at once, they’ve got their laptops on, they’ve got their dog, they’ve got the baby.”

Zack Burgess is an award winning journalist. He is the Director/Owner of OFF WOODWARD MEDIA, LLC, where he works as a writer, editor and communications specialist. His work can be seen at zackburgess.com. Twitter: @zackburgess1

Becoming a city dweller: Gas Station TV is moving to Detroit was originally published on michronicleonline.com

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