We all know that the MTA is in dire financial straits, thanks to dwindling real estate tax revenues, debts from previous borrowing, the rising expense of maintaining the different systems, and many other reasons. Today, the NY Times decides to look at yet another area of lower expected revenue— advertising on mass transit and in various stations.

According to the Times, Titan Worldwide, which places ads in and on NYC Transit buses, as well in Metro-North and LIRR trains (and at the stations, like Grand Central), "fell short a total of $7.5 million in mandatory payments to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from February through April, citing lower than expected ad sales. That would be enough to buy 16 new buses for the authority."

Currently, the MTA is negotiating with Titan to discuss the missed payments; Titan chairman William Apfelbaum told the Times the company's sales revenue has fallen 25% this year, "In my 30-plus years in the business there’s never been a year that was down versus the prior year. This is a first." Apfelbaum also gave an example of his clients playing hardball: "Warner Brothers came to us and said, ‘We want the same exact schedule as last year but we’re going to pay 20 percent less or you’re not going to get it.'"

The MTA also works with CBS Outdoor, which handles ads within the subway system. While it has paid the MTA $55 million for the year, it may need to pay more if their sales are higher (both Titan and CBS Outdoor pay more if sales exceed a certain amount). CBS Outdoor credits the wrapped subway ads as why its revenue was still healthy.