Tuesday, 05 October 2010
Content production for North America’s digital signage/digital out-of-home networks has reached $3.5 billion in annual investment, drawing on 21,000 person years of talent. More than 8.8 million individual spots are created annually (by calculation), with well beyond a million of these being unique advertising spots with creative and flight time paid by third-party advertisers. These estimates are conservative and do not include licensed content and data feeds.
Indeed, over the past decade, almost a million displays have been deployed, business models have stabilized, supply capabilities have accelerated and ad sales infrastructure has been put in place. Through this, the focus on content, the “secret sauce” of digital signage, has been increasing.
Digital signage content ultimately delivers the results. It sits between the communications and the technology infrastructure, which are the bookends and cornerstones of the DS/DOOH network.
While the banner that “Content is King” still flies, given its importance in achieving communications goals, “relevance” has emerged to rule the content domain. Relevance is content presented in the context of the place, time and viewer and applied to achieve measurable results. Content may be king, context the emperor and measurement the queen (and it is she who must be obeyed), but relevance is the ultimate authority.
As DS/DOOH has found its place in a communications continuum, whereby communicators use multiple devices such as the Internet, posters and television to maximize ROI on messaging goals, the economies of content production have advanced significantly. Digital media authoring and management mean that DS/DOOH can lead the charge in reducing, reusing and recycling brand and media assets (and efforts), while serving a starting point of message development and audience targeting. Content is not just about the 15-second spot but the broader strategy and tactical elements of content that can maximize the use of digital signage and most fully exploit its advanced viewer targeting with relevant, dynamic media.
The content aspect of digital signage reaches across the spectrum from simple to more complex in many characteristics. As the medium matures and its practices related to content become more critical and advanced, some areas of practice are becoming increasingly important at the levels of individual content spots, the play loop and the interface between the technology and management system. Some of these include:
• High-quality media presentation to assure that the visual image is as appealing and compelling as possible. This is achieved in part by using media in its richest possible, “native” form through the digital media supply chain. Reducing the need for media reformatting and transcoding reduces cost, time and the degradation of the media.
• Local input and control of a predefined area of the display or the play loop can enable individual departments or display locations to schedule and present information relevant to achieving their very local goals through local communications, promotions and branding.
• Ease of campaign placement. Defining parameters such as the date, time, location and other display criteria allows media to be presented to best achieve the intended results.
• Content layering is used to localize content to improve revenue achievement. Compiling and rendering media spots in multiple content layers is a very efficient way of managing campaigns while having graphics, text, pricing and other elements be local.
• Ease of message targeting by display location, target audience demographic, time and specific circumstances.
• Ease of use to allow for cost-effective operations and maximizing the benefits that digital signage can provide as a communications instrument. Ease of use minimizes costs of operations.
• Interface with data inputs and system integration with other systems such as point-of-sale, inventory and traffic patterns so that media presentation and sales activation are maximized.
• Triggering of content based on inputs such as viewer proximity, examination of a product, anonymous viewer measurement and demographic capture can assure the most suitable media is presented to achieve the results.