Forget your leisurely Uber ride — the ride-hailing service just announced it’s testing in-vehicle tablets dedicated to displaying ads during your ride. The company, fortunately, has not yet rolled out the program on a large scale; it’s just about flying it in San Francisco and LA to begin with.
So far, Uber says it has partnered with more than 40 brands, including NBCUniversal, Heineken and United Artists Releasing for its new “Journey Ads.” It has also created an advertising division to help grow this offering and plans to stick more ads in the Uber Eats app, in emails, on digital storefronts and through car ads – a sort of billboard. digital display that drivers can place on the roof of their vehicles.
Lyft launched a similar advertising arm in August and has already started displaying ads on in-car tablets in Los Angeles-based vehicles. The tablets don’t just display ads, however, as Lyft explains, riders can “track progress along their route, rate and tip drivers, and control the music for their ride through our partnership.” with iHeartRadio”. (Let’s hope Uber does the same, because it at least makes the tablets more useful.) “Lyft Halos.
Uber is still struggling to become profitable and just reported $382 million in cash flow positive for the first time in August. However, a new proposal from the Department of Labor could change the way it does business, potentially making it harder for services, like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, to classify some workers as contractors. This could force these companies to give drivers new benefits and protections, such as minimum wage and overtime.