The Perspective 
Wednesday, 05 September 2012
We had our second annual DOOH Media Cross Media event last week in cooperation with the Digital Screenmedia Association (DSA) and the Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA). Held at Gannett's HQ with a backdrop of Madison Avenue, the event attracted a mixed crowd of digital signage networks, agencies, brands, platform companies and mobile experts.

Speakers from NEC, MWW, The Wow Factor, Time Square Screen Alliance, Blue Bite and The Wall Street Journal dissected the overall growth of mobile, digital signage and best practices of this overall evolution of convergence. The common themes evolved around experience, media strategy and scalability.

Don Blanton, CEO of The Wow Factor

Theme 1: Experience

“It is so important to build an experience that creates an emotional response,” stated Don Blanton, CEO of The Wow Factor. Don is one of those true visionaries that had created some of the best campaigns in Times Square, bringing creativity and innovation to an environment where consumers are stimulated by digital media from every angle. He showcased some of the campaigns that had been successful, and shared techniques and strategies to best gauge the usefulness of the campaigns.

“We find that in order to have a successful campaign, the integration with the street-teams is a key part of process. We found that with mobile, sometimes the downloading of an app can be a bit of an obstacle. Getting users to activate the app is still not a perfect scenario, but overall integrating the campaign is effective in getting engagement with the massive screen,” said Blanton. 

Mikhail Damiani from Blue Bite also shared his vision on how to drive a campaign first from the strategy of experience that then determines the right technologies to use. “NFC is going to be a key driver of this interaction in the future,” he stated and shared some statistics that proved this is happening faster than we expected.  

Tom Hennigan of Times Square Screen Alliance and Blanton also shared a sneak-peak of what is to come with the connectivity of all screens. “Giving advertisers the best opportunity…massive emotional experiences are coming soon in our launch in October to Times Square,” Hennigan announced.

Theme 2: Media Strategy

The discussions also took on a perspective that the holistic view is a critical part in an overall media strategy with the brand. “Getting the strategy right from the beginning is essential and the platform with which you serve ads to the different screens is critical,” explained Carolyn Walkin of NEC. “When deciding on an ad server for your business, it is now the time to choose one that gives you the ability to work everywhere. That will make your planning much more streamlined.”

As we are at the tip of the iceberg in terms of the growth of digital place based media, having a strategy that looks to combine these areas is going to be quite essential. “Given that mobile is with you everywhere, especially when you are on the go, it can be a great resource in linking these strategies together,” said Michael Scheiner, executive creative director of MWW.

When asked by Jim Harris, CEO of the Wall Street Journal Office Network what we can expect in five years, the panel of speakers was quick to talk about the further fusion of media. And there was a strong consensus on the opportunities of augmented reality. “Augmented reality is going to bring amazing things to Times Square,” said Blanton.

Michael Scheiner, executive creative director, MWW

Theme 3: Scalability

Another common theme for the event was the issue of scalability. “When developing a plan, it is important to have a long-term scalable strategy,” said Scheiner. “Many campaigns that link these converging areas together have been created as one-offs without a long-term sustainable plan. But with the right strategy from the beginning, that campaign can have longevity and can bridge all the different areas of PR, social, interactive, mobile and digital out-of-home.”

Although scalability has been a topic discussed quite often and sometimes hard to qualify, in a world of an overwhelming flow of information, it is clear that getting the message right so that it can continue across all mediums is very important. Harris noted that this is a challenge they pursue every day when you have a 700+ location digital signage network. When he asked the panel their remarks on the subject, the common answer of “creating the right content experience for the user” was the key media strategy.

Matthew Snyder is producer of MXM Events and CEO ADObjects, Inc.

Posted by: Matthew Snyder AT 11:19 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair once said that "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many people want in and how many want out." Using this metric, digital signage continues to present a good business for both users and suppliers. In reality there are so many people (meaning suppliers) that want into the space that it has proven to be a stress on the industry. But it verifies that the space offers many success attributes and smart companies and users can’t stay away.  
Although the in-store digital media industry continues to be a good business opportunity for both users and suppliers, it also continues to be a relatively immature and fragmented industry. The hyper-focused keys to success revolve around measurement and content. Unfortunately, much of the industry is not on the same page as it relates to both of these elements.  

More money to fund the industry both from a supplier perspective (new and expanded networks) and from a user perspective (ROI) will come from the inclusion of digital signage in the overall consumer path to purchase. Including the digital in-store experience with the broader vantage point of how shoppers make their buying decisions (which includes online, social, mobile and traditional media) will propel digital signage to become an essential element of a brand’s media mix equation.
The case for digital signage is still valid. Advertisers will not stop advertising! Consumers are on the go and hard to reach as they spend more time out of the home (OOH). In the home is where much of traditional media has historically reached consumers. With this OOH dynamic, traditional media continues to erode in effectiveness. Brands, retailers and agencies all see these lifestyle induced effectiveness changes and are thus undertaking online, social, mobile and in many cases in-store digital initiatives. Since digital is the most targetable and the most measurable medium in the history of advertising, it will grow in importance as brands employ targeted campaigns.  
But as John Maynard Keynes once noted, "The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones."

The industry, led by ad agencies, has resisted embracing many of these new digital mediums and has stayed in a comfort zone of traditional media for both economic and structural reasons. Fortunately, each day that goes by shows more and more agencies and brands showing sincere interest in moving away from the old model and welcoming the new.  
Suppliers need to get on the same page in providing guidance to the other players in the chain. Unfortunately too many suppliers live in silos in a world where users and brands are looking for integrated solutions. Users alarmingly are not measuring the results with the new media measurement tools nor are they deploying enough dynamic content aimed at utilizing the power of the medium. Traditional media companies have been very slow to look at and accept digital signage and the new media companies in the industry (Apple, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft et. al.) have chosen to explore online, mobile and social as their near-term strategies. Clearly they will ultimately see the power of having a digital presence at the most important: point of purchase. 
Lest this sound too negative, there is no question that in-store digital signage will succeed! Remember the old adage, "if you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less." The dynamics of the shopper behavior, the path to purchase, proven measurement superiority and the continual evolution of more power/less price for technology all credibly predict success for in-store digital signage. 
Putting the following pieces together into a cogent, price-performing strategy will insure success for the industry: 
  • Content – The most effective deployments use micro-targeted content strategies with dynamic broadcast quality content. But with the cost of a 15-second spot in the $1,500 to $2,500 range for content created in a traditional fashion, most budgets find it hard to fund the required volume of content. The solution can be found in the new cloud-based content development tools recently hitting the market. By using the cloud, professional templates, easy-to-use techniques (i.e. you don’t have to be a graphics designer), a layered construction approach to allow for constant previews before rendering, and a large library of micro-stock clips and graphic elements, users can effectively bring the cost of a 15 second spot down to the $250 to $300 range. The economies are obvious. At these prices, users and brands can aggregate the volume of broadcast quality content to enable the targeting needed for maximum results.  
  • Technology – Just looking at the flat panel display as one example over the past 10 years, you can see a favorable cost curve that will continue across all aspects of the technology for the application. These price / performance curves will continue if not increase at an increasing rate. 
  • Advertising – Ad dollars follow buyer behavior and measured results. With consumers spending more time out of the home, and with the measured better results of digital versus traditional media, the ad dollars will continue to grow for digital.  
  • Mobile – Over the past few years, mobile and in-store digital have been addressed as two independent segments. Over time, mobile, together with social and online, will merge with in-store to enable a brand to seamlessly reach consumers in their out of home lives.   
  • Measurement – Analytics tools are improving and DPAA has leveled the playing field via standards for digital as it relates to traditional media. Getting users to use the tools and incur the expense is the next hurdle. WalMart's Smart Network is setting the tone and it is inevitable that others will follow. 
Hurdles still remain for the in-store digital media sector to become a major force in merchandising and advertising. But with the lifestyles of consumers dictating new marketing techniques to reach them and with mobile, social, online and in-store digital showing measureable advantages over the eroding traditional media options, digital media will continue to move down the path of success.  
Stephen Nesbit has been in the digital out-of-home industry since 1999. He is currently principal at Shadow Oak Holdings, LLC and can be reached at .
Posted by: Stephen Nesbit AT 08:37 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  
Wednesday, 31 August 2011
There was no calmness after the storm last night in Times Square for the jointly produced MXM/DSA event around convergence of screen media between digital signage and mobile.
The event had over 65 participants (standing room only) in the board room of Duane Morris overlooking the digital display wonderland of Times Square; there is even a vantage point from the room where you can see both of the massive LED screens at either end of the square at the same time.

Stu Armstrong, immediate past president of DSA and managing director, direct sales for ComQi moderated the panel session.
Bob Gold, CEO, Gold Mobile, shared with the audience about how NFC will become a key part of the digital signage as a way to not only interact, but transact at the same time.  Bob also  mentioned that “mobile is the disruption to take us away from traditional impression based media strategies to one of engagement in real time right in front of the display. SMS, QR codes are part of the process, but there will be so much more.”  
In actuality, Jeremy Lockhorn, VP emerging media, Razorfish mentioned, “Out-of-home was always a hard placement as a media strategy as the content does not sit alongside media such as TV, radio or print. Now with digital out-of-home, the interactivity component can now make advertising marketing out of home more of a strategy with content engagement and delivery.”
“Today with interaction of digital signage you need to have a social-mobile strategy as well. Not only can you have Twitter integrated into a marketing message real-time, but down to the tweet can be controlled and moderated. Think about that whole new level of engagement,” said, Drew de Cavalho, sales, AdGent Digital.
Six Flags participated in the event with a presentation from Adam Oliveri, VP of corporate alliances, Sean Anderson, director, interactive and Lisa Checketts, manager of digital.  Together they mapped out the landscape of the potential of captive audience marketing from everything around how they “geo-fence” different areas of the parks to leverage location-based services to come in the future, to how they make waiting in lines more entertaining and enjoyable. 
“Today, you can interact with a digital sign with your mobile and win a spot at front of the line. We are integrating digital signage and mobile connectivity everywhere. Even though QR codes on signposts in the different waiting areas and SMS has become quite standard, we are looking to the future with our app and a variety of service integration to match our Six Flags video network,” said Adam. 
Adam also mentioned one of the biggest challenges they have been able to solve with their partners was the new engagement metrics and measurement strategies. “We are building a clear model around dwell as a key part of engagement.”   
The topic of measurement was strongly emphasized by all of the panelists. Tom Hennigan, partner of Times Square Domination (an ad network for the screens of Times Square) said that building impressions from one screen to multiple screens that all have interactivity has been a challenge. “We work in steps to build a campaign that grows over time to give the best for clients. ROI is critical for us and the level of brands we are dealing with for this media.”   
Other challenges with measurement were discussed deal with how to connect the actual campaign to a comparison across other screens.  With all the different formats it is becoming more and more complex to get a formula right across all the screens, but Jason Newport, SVP mobile for Carat said they are working hard on this as it is key to our clients. 
After this success, the DSA and MXM have started to discuss when the next event will take place. Please send in comments if you would like to participate and be involved.
Following the event, John Matthews, Comscient wrote:

Congratulations on an excellent MXM event last night at a great venue with a view! The MXM event was excellent with a great panel with above average content. It was a refreshing change from many of the digital media events that take place in NYC these days. The event also attracted a better quality attendee with more mature mobile and digital out of home media industry leaders and innovators. Definitely a worthwhile and valuable event with great insights and I personally am looking forward to future events.
Check out #MXMDSA on Twitter to see related tweets.
Matthew Snyder
Matthew Snyder is producer of MXM Events and CEO ADObjects, Inc.
Posted by: Matthew Snyder AT 02:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
The digital signage industry is a small world – but it stretches across the globe.

And that global community is pulling together to do what it can to help relief efforts for the still-developing catastrophe in Japan.

Organized by digital signage expert consultants Dave Haynes and David Weinfeld, DOOH4relief is "a collective, voluntary effort to drive fundraising for the still unfolding tragedy" in Japan, according to

Spurred by a Weinfeld tweet over the weekend recalling a similar effort for the Haiti earthquake last year, the two Daves started working on rounding up help.

"The idea is you've got literally hundreds of thousands of available screens out there in North America, and globally and virtually all of them will have some available media inventory time ... between us (Haynes and Weinfeld), we kind of got the word out that this is going on, we can help, who wants to pitch in?" Haynes said via telephone this morning.

"It's just kind of steamrolled from there."

The effort already has garnered several spot ads soliciting donations to Red Cross and Red Crescent relief efforts that have been made available for download at Some of the ads were already in development independently by companies such as rVue, Haynes said, but the site is now providing a central clearinghouse for the public service announcement content.

DOOH4relief has been a catholic effort, with agencies and firms from across the world offering to help out. Insteo, headquartered in California, is hosting and managing the site. And according to Haynes' 16:9 blog, Cineplex Digital Solutions and Groupe Viva in Canada are working on spots, and a U.K.-based associate of Montreal-headquartered Ayuda is working to spur efforts in the United Kingdom.

Belgian firm idKlic has contributed a spot that references both the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies – that is already up and running in 600 Belgian pharmacies.
Al Barq Digital in Abu Dhabi/Dubai has joined in and is working to get the ball rolling in the Middle East region.

According to Haynes' blog, "ScreenScape has asked its SMB user base to run spots, the Canadian Health Media Network is poised to run spots on its member networks as soon as they come available, and RMG Networks in the US – has already started running spots on its large New York Times and fitness networks."

"We are also in touch with the Canadian and US digital out of home/place-based member organizations, and OVAB Europe via Al Barq."

Spots developed by rVue and Context Media also are available, according to Haynes' blog.
Also according to his blog, "the files will be 15s and 30s and will conform where possible to the DP-AA content guidelines for resolution, bitrate and file type."

There are now four PSAs up on the site, and there should be several more coming in today, Haynes said this morning. There are more in development for the French-speaking parts of Canada, he said, and he's hoping a company will soon step up to develop spots in Spanish aimed at Latinos.

Also, Haynes is "taking great pains" to make sure that this effort is not used in any way "as a back-patting exercise," asking networks and others to not alter the spots beyond tweaking them for formatting.

Posted by: Christopher Hall AT 07:25 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
One of the challenges of the digital out-of-home/digital place-based media industry has been recruiting advertising and branding agencies to recognize DOOH as a legitimate advertising medium along with TV, radio, Internet, outdoor, etc.

Despite efforts by associations like the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association (DPAA), which is close-knit with many New York advertising agencies, those firms have still been slow to adopt the medium. However, there are a handful that have realized the power of digital signage and are not only recognizing it as a viable medium, but also becoming advocates to ensure other agencies do the same.

One of those is Dallas, Texas-based TracyLocke, a mostly retail-focused agency that defines itself as a provider of “ideas that move people to brands.” Although browsing their Web site doesn’t bring up a lot of info about their efforts in the digital signage space, they certainly have been involved in the past year and a half.

I first heard the agency’s name in 2008 but had my first contact with them in 2009. I was brought onboard early to read and review the company’s white paper “In-store digital media: How to re-establish retail’s role as a mass consumer medium.”

Developed in partnership with Reflect Systems and DPMI’s Bill Collins, the white paper explains how retailers can leverage shopper-friendly digital media technologies (including digital signage) that deliver marketing and branding messages to consumers inside the store, at or near the point of sale. We released the paper the week of Digital Signage Expo 2009 on Digital Signage Today.

We later ran an excerpt from the paper edited by authors Dorothy Allan and Bill Collins on the site, as well.

Since then, TracyLocke has become a household name on the digital signage conference circuit. They have gotten in tight with the Strategy Institute: Al Wittemen, managing director of Shopper Marketing for TracyLocke, spoke about the impact of digital signage and how DOOH can leverage the incredible research behind shopper marketing at the Digital Signage Content Strategies Summit in May 2009 in Las Vegas and likely coined the term “point of experience” there. Wittemen returned to the conference again in March 2010 to discuss the post-crisis consumer mindset.

TracyLocke was again invited to speak at the October 2009 Digital Signage Investors Conference, this time represented by president and COO Beth Ann Kaminkow. She has been invited back to speak at the 2010 conference, Oct. 5-6 in New York City.

And most recently, TracyLocke and rVue announced a partnership where the agency will use rVue’s DOOH media planning and buying platform to begin creating customized DOOH campaigns for its clients. The team at TracyLocke consulted with rVue on the latest enhancements to the platform to make it easier for media planners and buyers to use.

The support we as an industry have gotten from TraceyLocke (and I should also mention Razorfish) is critical to the growth and proliferation of DOOH in the minds of the advertising community – but we need more than just a few agencies.

What can we as an industry do to attract more of the advertising community to our medium? Comment below.

This post first appeared on Bill Yackey is former editor of that Web site and a regular contributor.
Posted by: The Perspective AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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