Captive audience: Florida jail is latest to sell ad space

Reaching a captive audience has long been a top priority for advertisers. After all, what better way is there to promote a product than right before a movie, when ticket buyers are settling in for two hours, or on a subway placard facing seat-bound commuters? Yet, a recent plan to sell advertising space on visitation video monitors at a Florida jail has some wondering whether such marketing efforts have gone too far.

The Charlotte County, Fla. Sheriff's Office hopes to bring in about $77,000 a year by selling ad space to the likes of attorneys or other companies providing services that might appeal to inmates or their visitors, making it perhaps the first jailhouse advertising program in the U.S., according to WINKnews.com, a web site for the television channel WINK in Southwest Florida. The reason for plan? Lt. Norm Wilson was facing a tighter budget and wanted to come up with ways to fund prisoner programs, the news site says. Wilson didn't return Daily Finance's call seeking comment.