Archive for the ‘Newcomers’ category

Another entry into gas pump TV game

July 24, 2008

There are lots and lots of gas stations out there, so it is no surprise to learn of another entry into the screens on top of gas pumps game – the latest in Lexington, Kentucky.

Fuel View TV has 100 screens installed on pumps at Shell stations around Lexington, and plans to add another 80 this summer. Expansion plans would put them into another 10 markets next year.

The guys are using Chyron’s DS platform.

According to the website:

Through a partnership with WKYT, Channel 27 and Traxx Management/ Thoroughbred Energy, the FUEL VIEW TV NETWORK will air on 25 strategically placed Shell Gas Stations across Central Kentucky and the Lexington market.

Fuel View TV on Gas PumpsOur State-of-the-Art LCD monitors will deliver local news content, including the day’s top stories, weather and sports headlines, alongside advertising content from our local & regional business community..

The 2 minute “mini” newscast loops 3 times every 15 minutes and is updated by WKYT 4 times per day. An L-Bar with the 5 Day Forecast, as well as stock updates, lottery numbers and sports headlines, rotates consistently to keep you up to date on the news that concerns you most.

Your advertising content is balanced with local news and entertainment and airs continuously as patrons fill their cars!

Well first, sincere best wishes to Fuel View.

Second, eeesh. I just don’t get the continuing obsession in this industry with shoveling TV assets onto gas pump screens, and pummeling people with weather reports when they are already outside and have car radios if they really do need to get a forecast. There must be better, more engaging and relevant content to put up on these things, like, umm, traffic reports???

Third, with fuel prices the way they are … are people looking at the screens, or staring at the ground muttering in disgust?

UnSoldSpace enters increasingly crowded aggregator game

July 17, 2008

An Atlanta-based startup has announced its entry into the increasing crowded competition for getting in the middle of advertising transactions in the out of home sector, including digital.

Last week it was AdSemble.

Now we have UnSoldSpace.com, a Web-based search and broker tool that enables media planners/buyers to sniff out available media and quickly put out competitive bidfs among media companies for chunks of ad budget.

“Our Lead Generation System dramatically reduces the time, effort and expense typically associated with trying to find qualified buyers and suppliers of OOH media,” says Jim Walman, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of UnSoldSpace, LLC, in a press release. “In addition, OOH media suppliers can use our Lead Generation System as a new, efficient and supplemental means of prospecting new business and connecting with qualified buyers, risk-free, at UnSoldSpace.com.”

According to Walman, an advertiser (or agency) creates and submits a public e-RFA using UnSoldSpace’s Lead Generation System, which ensures all proposal details are viewable except the buyer’s contact information. Suppliers can use UnSoldSpace’s search engines to locate the e-RFA, or suppliers will receive a buyer’s electronic proposal via E-mail if it matches their customized e-RFA alert profile. Suppliers are then able to evaluate an anonymous e-RFA for free. If interested in responding to a qualified opportunity, a supplier can opt to reveal or “unmask” a buyer’s contact information for a $35 charge. Upon the supplier’s payment, media buyers receive multiple responses (directly) from pre-qualified suppliers, resulting in more choices and optimal pricing for the advertiser’s brand.

With the July 2008 launch of UnSoldSpace, buyers and suppliers of all OOH media are now able to take advantage of a web platform that delivers collaborative campaign-building tools and services that are simple to use and supportive of almost any company’s business needs and workflows. UnSoldSpace requires no training and is free to media buyers and commission-free to media suppliers. This versatile platform accommodates all OOH media types and OOH media formats, including traditional, non-traditional, and digital. UnSoldSpace also offers geographic targeting capabilities down to the zip-code level.

I spend precious little time on the ad sales side of the game, so I can’t provide much useful comment on whether this is the Big One or a fringe service. Depending on your point of view about the media planning process, it may or may not be a good thing that the management team is mostly made up of ex Delta Airlines guys. Ad sales and planning experience among the bunch is limited.

It looks like the primary source of revenue will be through the lead generation fees.

New online ad-buying service, AdSemble, unveiled

July 9, 2008

I bumped into a Google Alert-ed blog entry about a new Sunnyvale, California start-up that is taking a different spin on servicing the digital signage sector.

AdSemble has built a Web-based platform that enables network operators to make time available on their systems for third parties to come in and buy or even bid on ad avails, with AdSemble as the enabler sitting in the middle of the transaction.

Advertise now on AdSemble, a single online source that consolidates various Digital Signage Advertising Based Networks (TV screens outside the home) under one roof top; making it simple and easy for you to place your ads on screens located where people eat, drive, travel and live their lives! …

With AdSemble you can:

  • Select Templates or get a custom made ad for use on any network(s) you choose
  • Search & Buy Airtime on various Digital Signage Advertising Based Networks
  • Track total spend and recall rates to ads you’ve broadcasted across multiple networks

The pitch is that it can cost as little as $150 to buy time.

The product is still in beta but has so far signed up six networks, including ECast, MySeniorCenter, Target Cast Networks, Promo Only Networks, KnewTV and eMebaVet.

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the ad-buying process, and when I do need to know, Adcentricity’s Rob Gorrie or one of the guys at SeeSaw will give me a rundown. My limited understanding, however, is that while this may work for local and regional advertisers, it is not really the way planners at the big agencies do business … or want to do business.

I have only watched the promo video on site so I don’t really know how it works, but my guess is the integration of AdSemble with member networks works a lot better when those networks are already working off something akin to a Web browser platform.

I suspect it would be much harder to integrate with my software guys and with many others that are doing a lot more than running a browser app in kiosk (full screen) mode.

That said, anything that helps put more ad dollars into the pockets of network operators is a welcome addition.

PEI start-up unveils networked screensaver

June 12, 2008

Mark Hemphill sent me a note yesterday to let me know about his new company ScreenScape, which is offering an entry level digital signage app that is a spin on the networked screensaver concept.

The company is based in Prince Edward Island and grew out of a university project in that pretty little part of Atlantic Canada.

Customers pay as little as $10 a month to use the Web-based service and set up a screen layout that includes the usual stuff like ad windows and RSS-driven news windows. It looks like there’s a lot of Flash happening, as well.

Users then map the Web browsers on a PC in a target venue to a specific IP address and run the browser in full screen mode. So the venue PC is not really running digital signage software as much as it is running a dynamic screensaver, like the old PointCast application and the one now being humped by NetPresenter.

I assume if connectivity drops off at a location there is scripting that keeps the browser playing out what it has from the cache on the local PC.

ScreenScape does a nice job on its website of stepping newcomers through its offer, including a video tour of the application. It’s not the sort of application that’s going to compete with the big enterprise guys in this space, but I doubt that what Hemphill has in mind.

Their could be a tidy little business simply enabling small business and institutions, and doing most of the sales and marketing effort online.

Screen network as guinea pig recruiter

May 26, 2008

I am huge fan of anyone coming into this space who decides to go at it a little differently – and the newly announced Digi-AdServices Network certainly qualifies.

This is the well-mined approach of putting screens in waiting rooms because of the defined audience and long dwell times.

But the big difference is that the screens are there primarily as a way to recruit paid volunteers for clinical drug trials by well-heeled pharmaceutical companies.

The patient waiting room is the perfect captive audience, says a press release on the new network, announced Monday. Typically a patient waits for about 10-15 minutes before being called to the exam room. During that time they can view health related information on a large screen high definition monitor. Information on healthy lifestyles, new medications as well as current and future medical research can be displayed in a way never before possible. By using full color motion or still slides, the amount of information distributed is much much more than could ever be realized in traditional media. Intermixed with this information is a “call to action” by the sponsoring pharmaceutical company to have the viewer inquire at the investigative site about participating in a medical research study.

Dr. Bret A. Wittmer, a well known leader in the world of medical research and the founder of the Digi-AdServices Network says “Digital displays deliver quality, useful information that could improve everyday lives. The network also provides a vehicle for physicians and research centers to communicate the importance of volunteering for clinical research trials to those waiting to be seen by the doctor “.

By educating the public about the clinical research process in a way that is engaging and informative, a desire to participate is created. Digital signage is playing a huge part in how medical research and health information is being distributed. Research centers that are co-located with private practices are discovering that patients who have visited their physician for years were unaware that medical research was being conducted at the same location and that they could help in the advancements of new and improved medications.

In addition to general health information and patient recruitment there is an increase in interest by locally owned and national chain pharmacies to advertise on these monitors. By taking advantage of a captive audience in a doctor’s waiting room, the pharmacy is able to directly advertise to consumers who will more than likely “opt-in” to purchase their services or products.

I have heard incessant radio spots and seen ads in newspaper, so I know there is money out there for this sort of thing. And it must take some work to find people to close their eyes, cross their fingers and hope the pills they’re getting to swallow don’t give them unibrows or scales.

The press release header actually notes: Commonwealth Biomedical Research, LLC., a respected leader in the clinical trial research industry, announces the launch of a new division devoted to clinical trial subject recruitment content and information distribution via its digital signage network.

The company pays as much as $4,800 for people to be in the trials, which involves some sleepovers and undoubtedly lots of poking and prodding. Commonwealth appears to be tightly focused on deploying in just the surrounding area, presumably within reach of their labs.

So … interesting approach, and certainly one tapping into marketing dollars few people in this space gave a second thought about.

It’s also a pretty testy subject area, with one point of view that they are necessary to advance drug research and another that they are fraught with risks and prey on the disadvantaged. That’s a big subject, and not for this blog.

D-Link enters the fray. D-Link???

April 28, 2008

Consumer-oriented networking gear firm has announced it is getting into the digital signage business, and is showing its somewhat vague market entry at the Interop trade show this week in Lost Wages.

In a press release, D-Link says it will be demonstrating both large and small digital signs and a back-end content and advertising delivery system ideal for businesses and system integrators who serve that market.

The news release continues with the explanation that: D-Link will offer solutions for wired and wireless in-store media networks. Special hardware and chipsets in the digital displays will allow configuration of a system of networked display stations managed by a back-end content server. Same or different groups of photos, videos, text, and audio can be scheduled for delivery to control content at each station. Touch screens and keypads allow interactive applications. Engaging consumers with rich content while shopping can provide both consumer information and targeted advertising while enhancing the consumer experience.

Not exactly deep on detail, but if I had to guess D-Link is stuffing a variation of its little HD set-top box thingdoodle inside a panel, or on the back, and driving content from a PC or even a USB key.

India free software player Infosignz releases pricing

April 28, 2008

Fledgling Indian DS software player Infosignz has cleverly attracted attention in a crowded field by offering a limited version of its product as free, with the caveat that a  fully functional version was coming and it was NOT free.

Infosignz has now released that pricing, which shows the price for something with the functionality serious companies will need is pretty much the same as what many companies out there are charging, on the low side, for Software as a Service. About $28 a month, though there’s an intro offer of  $10/month right now to get some business in the door.

This sort of effort is interesting, and definitely not good news for the many service providers out there who are charging considerably more than this, and able to do so because few companies are open about their rate card.