630,000 screens and counting???

Spotted in Digital Signage Today, a Promo magazine piece looking at the industry as a whole.

It has this very big assertion: About 630,000 TV screens are now housed in 97,000 U.S. retail stores, estimates PowerPact, a consumer marketing agency. That number is projected to grow by 20% a year.

Really?

As the story notes PRN has 120,000 of those in Wal-Marts, but are there really more 600,000 networked screens out there? While there are a lot of signage solutions providers out there, I’d say even the biggies talk in terms of 10,000 or less as an installed base, though we all expect to grow a LOT this year. I actually think 20% growth this year is low and will certainly make a few software CEOs curl up into fetal positions.

UPDATE – I looked up the phrase “630,000 screens” and discovered it is not new and has been used a few times. It seems to track back to Infotrends, also known as Cap Ventures. I remain skeptical, unless they are lumping in all kinds of things like POS terminals and every unit in a Best Buy TV wall .

The story goes into where at least a little bit of the growth is coming from, such as: fashion merchant Limited Too is also launching a network to promote new music and DVD releases, gift cards and in-store specials at about 400 stores with Retail Entertainment Design.“It brings marketing messages to life,” says Scott Bracale, president of Tween Brands Agency, the chain’s parent company.

The firm plans to offset the “multimillion-dollar” expense by selling paid ads, Bracale says. Potential advertisers include Procter & Gamble’s Secret Sparkle and Walt Disney Records.

Of course, an advocacy group was rung up to provide perspective on all this. Watchdog group The Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood says it’s just another push to put children in front of ads.

“It is an intrusion,” says Susan Linn, the group’s co-founder. “This is part of a targeted device by corporations to get brands in our face 24 hours, seven days a week. It may benefit marketers, but it doesn’t do the rest of us a lot of good.”

Oh Lord. Susan, stores and malls are also targeted devices for getting brands in kids’ faces. You were expecting to walk into a store and not have anything or anyone try to sell you stuff???

Anyway, full story here …

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