Whereas the average commute in the United States is between 10 and 17 minutes, in Egypt it routinely takes 32 minutes or more to get from point A to point B. In fact, as any Egyptian will tell you traffic congestion is a major problem in all of Egypt’s big cities.
Egyptians will also tell you that the ride sharing apps Uber and Careem have become a preferred method of transportation. It only seems natural then that a new startup has found a way to make being stuck in traffic in an Uber a novel marketing opportunity fueled by innovative mixed content.
Entertainment on the Go
Roadcast is a startup content creation, technology, and advertising firm that’s planning to put tablets with preloaded content in ride sharing app vehicles. There are a lot of winners here: Egyptians using Uber and Careem can stay informed and entertained during their commute without draining their phone batteries. Advertisers can reach a captive audienc. The drivers themselves win too as they will be paid by Roadcast for maintenance of the devices and certainly this extra income will help offset increasing fuel costs.
Bespoke SICO Tablets
And what are the devices exactly? Roadcast provides 10-inch interactive touch screens (tablets) that allow Uber passengers to navigate between a selection of immersive video games, web series, articles, cooking shows, and much more. There are even colouring books and other content made especially for kids, giving the younger passengers something to keep them occupied as they ride along during mom or dad’s commute. After initial trials with Chinese made tablets, the company is now switching over to far better performing tablets made in Egypt by the Egyptian company SICO. The main software for the devices has also been produced by Bright Creations, another Egyptian firm.
One of the most auspicious aspects of Roadcast’s approach to content is that they are creating an informative and entertaining product that is a mix of both passively consumed content (articles and videos) and interactive content (colouring activities and video games).
The creators and founders of Roadcast
Mohamed Rateb (CEO) Sherief Hassan and Omar Badran- have worked hard to develop their exisitng content based on market research and exhaustive surveying of both Uber users and drivers. One of the most interesting findings of their initial research was that there was a definite need for Children’s content.
Currently in their pilot phase at the start of 2018, there are 85 Uber and Careem cars equipped with Roadscast’s tablets. Whereas there are plans to expand to other ride sharing apps or signs an exclusivity deal with either one or both of the big names in Egypt (Uber and Careem) remains to be seen. Egypt does have lots of unique carpooling apps and it will be interesting to see if Roadcast makes inroads into this market share.
At any rate, when it comes to advertising, Rateb, Hassan, and Badrann have landed some big names as early adopters. PepsiCo is already running ads in Roadcast content. In addition to the beverage giant, the British-Dutch multinational Unilever has also gotten onboard as an early advertiser. Unilever makes many extremely popular consumer goods in the food and personal hygiene sectors.
The Future for Roadcast
Good ratings are the lifeblood of an Uber or Careem driver. It’s reasonable to believe that drivers with the Roadcast devices in their cars will get good ratings. As for content creation moving forward, the heads of Roadcast are continuing to collect data. They’ve also made it clear that they’re looking into the development of shorter “snackable” content in addition to longer articles and videos.