My year end summaries over the past 10 years have reflected on sustained double digit industry growth, noted the price/performance maturation of technology components and the ease of their integration, celebrated critical mass and the “tipping point” of installed ad-based displays, applauded the entry of billion-dollar companies as suppliers in the sector while compelling attention to analytics and the need to improve content.
2012 has seen its share of important stories and trends, though these less dazzling than those of previous years. At an estimated $7 billion in annual revenues, growing on all accounts at a continued, double-digit compound annual growth rate, employing an estimated 50,000 professionals, as messages are presented on more than two million networked out-of-home displays, the dynamic place-based media sector is moving beyond its early adolescence as it quietly moves forward in providing competitive advantage to end users and their capable suppliers.
|Confidentiality related to the use and business impact of the media is the torturing knife that twists in the side of dynamic signage industry growth…
The most important industry news items of 2012 were generally not published or profiled as non-disclosure agreements and project privacy shrouded initiatives and kept them from public (and competitor) view.
One imagines how many marketing, agency and business executives have wondered at the value that the McDonald’s McCafé
menu/promotion board delivers or been impressed by the engagement value of the medical waiting room displays of Care Media
. Ad and internal messages on digital place-based deliver high value.
“Owned” media is the dominant communications force in customer, patron, staff and student engagement. End users in food services, retail, banking, entertainment and other patron-based organizations have moved into the “early majority” phase to establish dynamic signage networks as part of their “owned” media and communications infrastructure. Many sought to better integrate this medium with other owned devices such as internet/intranet, publications, brand signage, apps, etc. as well as with “paid” and “earned” media. “Proof of concept” projects generally have moved to build out, at varying pace based on the analytics that are used and many networks are moving to integrate with “audience of one” approaches through functional improvement and content.
The fact that few significant case studies have been released, that industry award nominees typically offered very little information about the business benefits achieved, and that few end user/vertical market conferences carried dynamic signage education sessions (these are typically member-directed association events) are indicators that dynamic signage is seen as providing significant business value and competitive advantage for the organizations that use it.
Too seldom in 2012 were there instances as seen at Digital Signage Expo when digital signage project executives of Zion Bank
were part of the show floor booth of Broadcast International
. They answered all questions about their project planning, deployment and operating experience, while showing their support for this “owned” medium and Broadcast International as its supplier. Zion Bank was recognized with a Digital Screenmedia Association Industry Excellence Award as the best financial services deployment in 2012
This shrouded activity was reflected in the supply side of the industry too, as significant industry providers worked behind the scenes and emerged in 2012 stronger through internal restructuring. Examples include IZON
, the retail and food services network operator formerly known as Premier Retail Networks (PRN), as well as BroadSign
(which was the first to offer a Software as a Service (SaaS) supply model), and Broadcast Division of Harris Corporation
, of which the Digital Media Group is part, announced new ownership. Ad-based network operators such as RMG Networks
(travel media) and Care Media Holdings
(medical waiting area media) have been diligent and are flag-bearers for the ad-based sector.
The failures that 2012 has seen will result in project correction or attrition in 2013. Projects that might soar in the value that they provide, do falter, fail or under-perform due to the lack of wide support and primarily, the lack of the application of knowledge. Elusive success will inspire review, re-positioning and the examination of alternative approaches on the part of some ad-based and corporate networks, while these same approaches are used by successful networks to refine and scale their operations for economies and efficiencies. 2013 is all about optimization.