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    Shell Stations Cater to Entertainment-Starved Customers

    Locations in Los Angeles offer video network at the pump.

    LOS ANGELES -- Select Shell Oil stations in the Los Angeles area will debut the VST Media Network, offering news, sports and entertainment to drivers while they fill their tanks. VST partnered with two independent Los Angeles-based Shell dealers: Pacific Fuels and C.A.R. Enterprises Inc.

    The system from VST Media Inc. runs paid advertising in addition to reporting news, sports and entertainment, plus movie trailers, public service announcements and emergency alerts. It runs over a high-speed, centrally managed network that provides regular updates to the programming at the pumps. When the pumps are not in use, screens cycle through a series of on-site promotional offerings. Lifting the fuel nozzle from the dispenser triggers the start of a two- to three-minute programming loop, matched to the average consumer fueling time. The loop features a maximum of six 15-second ads.

    “We believe the VST Media Network will help lift sales and provide an entertaining value-add for our customers,” said Leighton Hull, president and CEO of Pacific Fuels, which has installed VST monitors at 10 of its sites. “The monitors can be used to promote specific campaigns that drive motorists into the c-store. The great thing is that we can measure any campaign, such as how many customers saw the promotions and the associated sales lifts of the specific product promoted on the network. This allows us to understand the effectiveness of response campaigns and accurately track our return on investment.”

    “I have been very impressed with the initial customer reaction,” said Sam Anabi, president of C.A.R. Enterprises, which has installed the network at three locations. “Consumers welcome the entertainment and informational value of the network and are motivated by the on-screen advertising. As an open dealer, the VST Media Network allows me to differentiate my sites from my competition and helps me to monetize the investments I have made in real estate and operations.”

    The Network features 17-inch daylight-viewable screens and stereo sound mounted on gas pumps.

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