Archive for the ‘News’ category

Moving Day

July 31, 2008

Well, the end of the month seems like as good a time as any to re-point the blog from here to over there.

The new home for this is

I would set up an automatic re-direct, but there’s that sticky little issue about not knowing how to actually pull that off.

Most of the stuff that is here, has been migrated over to the new WordPress blog. Any new posts are going on the new, dedicated site, which remains pretty much a blog, but has a few twists.

A job board that is intended to let companies take the things they post on their own site and put them here as well. There’s no charge associated with it, and users can fill in the fields without my getting in the middle of it. I popped up a few things I know are out there, but from experience I know several companies who have sniffed around looking and found general job sites are way too broad in terms of the readership. At least with this, there’s little chance somebody will see the job post if they’re not already involved, somehow, in the space.

I also have an events calendar up. I am not all that happy with the one I am using right now, but it’s a start.

Links are buried in directory instead of on the main screen. There’s a way to do that in the Joomla 1.5 content management system, I’m sure, but I’m a rookie and somewhat hampered by being 50 and thick as a plank.

There is an RSS feed for posts built in. I think there is one for this WordPress version, but strangely I have never subscribed to myself. I have better taste than that.

I’ve added a little thingdoodle that creates an RSS feed from the RSS feeds that I sort through on Google Reader. This way, I can flag some things I have read on other blogs or sites but I don’t need to replicate them.

Finally, I have added a banner ad along the top. I’m not sure what all to do with that, but Joomla has that capability, and my buddy Kevin will take a free plug for his consulting firm, iBall Media.

I suspect I will continue to tweak things and add as I go. Let me know what you like and would like to see, and I have no doubt you’ll let me know what sucks.


And your point is? …

July 23, 2008

The hoo-hah continues about big LED boards and their impact in communities.

The latest comes from Grand Forks, North Dakota (final resting place of many brain cells – the cheapest road trip from my college days in Winnipeg), where authorities have put a hold on such boards on the very flat prairie outside the little river city’s limits.

Grand Forks County placed a six-month moratorium on the placing of digital billboards outside Grand Forks, reports the local paper.

Not that it’s an immediate issue. County Planner Lane Magnuson said there have been no requests to place digital billboards in rural Grand Forks County.

Regional outdoor player Newman Outdoor Advertising has one LED board in Grand Forks and 5 down the interstate in Fargo.

Magnuson said digital billboards, which are made up of LED light bulbs, could pose hazards outside cities.

“In a rural setting, you can literally see them for miles,” he said.

And having done lots of highway miles in North Dakota, something … ANYTHING … to look at while driving, is actually a good thing. And probably a safety enhancement, not a risk.

Shifting to my own domain … at some point

July 22, 2008

When I started this thing I was under the spell of a British CEO at my old employers, who convinced me the world was moving away from the term digital signage. Screen media was the handle that was to be on the tip of every tongue!

Well, clearly I’d skipped my meds that day, yet again, and I went with screenmedia as the handle for my WordPress blog.

Giant, slippery piles of nonsense later, here I sit with 100s of posts on the unwieldy blog URL:

I have been thinking for a while I should really have my own blog site, and maybe add some things. So $45 later (honest), I had as a domain and a year of hosting on a web server, with the content management tool Joomla already installed.

I am still figuring out how to use the thing (fortunately, a few people I know have stupidly blurted that they were Joomla power users), but have started populating it with the same posts as on this main WordPress blog. The intent is to cut over at some point … soon-ish.

Among the things I want to add:

  • an events calendar that points to industry events
  • more, better links
  • and more than anything, a job board for companies looking for people, and people looking for companies. I have been playing matchmaker, informally, for a while now, and this is an easy way to broaden that with very little additional work.

The nice thing about Joomla is that it is largely modular and use style sheets and components to make updating dead simple and quick, so the extra work should be minimal.

I am interested in your thoughts on the switch, and any ideas about other things to add. Let me know!

The NEO factor

July 21, 2008

Neo Media is a client, but I’m not at all involved with their activity on the other side of the Atlantic – where the company seems to be getting a real vote of confidence in the marketplace.

As AKA and others have reported, the UK-based mall and bar network Avanti Screenmedia had been struggling for some time, with the share price dropping to one pence from a high of 17 pence.

News last week that Swiss-based Neo Media, which has networks in several European countries as well as a mall network up here in the tundra, has injected some cash into the company has made a dramatic difference on Avanti’s prospects.

Since the announcement late last week of an $800,000 convertible loan, Avanti’s share price has jumped past three cents and leveled off in late day trading in London today at 3.31 pence. It’s a nice vote of confidence for the sector over there, and generally, given a lot of the gloom and doom lately.

User generated content draws few ad dollars

July 18, 2008

Every few months people get all whipped up about some buzz phrase or technology that will be a big part of the future of this industry.

For a while last year, people were blabbering away about user generated content, and how video material supplied by the great unwashed would be a cool thing to build in to a network’s content offer.

Never mind the technical challenges of that, the bigger problem is most user generated content is horrible, and sifting though the piles to find something engaging is a massive chore.

This seems to be backed up by the online video streaming industry, which is reporting that while user generated vids account for 42 per cent of all video streams, it generates four per cent of the ad revenue.

From MarketWatch:

User-Generated Video (UGV) will continue to account for close to half of total online video streams between 2008 and 2013, but disappointingly will produce no more than 4% of ad-related online video revenue at any time during this period. According TDG’s latest analysis, Online TV and the Future of Digital Video Advertising, the prospects for online video advertising have little to do with UGV, except as an indirect way of drawing more viewers to professional online video sites capable of generating sustainable ad-related revenue.

According to Mugs Buckley, a veteran of TV and video advertising and author of TDG’s new report, UGV currently accounts for 42% of online video streams, yet generates less than 4% of video ad-related revenue. Conversely, professional online video (including both short-clip and long-form content) accounts for 58% of streams and 96% of ad-related revenue, a reality unlikely to change over the next five years.

Yes … Mugs Buckley.

Anyway … without a doubt, there’s a place for this stuff on networks – like stupid pet trick videos submitted into a network targeting pet supply stores. But it’s just a little piece of the puzzle and few advertisers want to be associated with unpolished material unless it is really, really special.

Crappy economy slowing bar traffic

July 17, 2008

Media Buyer Planner is reporting that fewer people are heading out to bars and clubs and of those that do go, they’re skipping the Grey Goose and drinking Absolut.

Nearly 44 percent of bar managers, bar owners and bartenders report a decrease in consumer traffic at their establishments, according to a May 2008 study from The Nielsen Company and Bevinco, writes MarketingCharts.

Among the 500 bar operators surveyed, 25 percent note a decrease in the number of on-premise drinks ordered, and 22 percent say customers are ordering less-expensive drinks.

The bars were located in U.S. nightclubs, hotels, casual restaurants and fine-dining restaurants. Among these types of establishments, the casual dining sector appears hardest hit, with 46 percent of respondents reporting a decline.

I mention this because bars and clubs are one of the hotter sectors in the Digital Out Of Home space, and fewer eyeballs is not all that great a thing. On the other hand, there is an argument to be made that the premium brands need to work a little harder to inspire purchases, or that thinned out crowds are actually a better demographic.

There’s also reason to think a lot of people will be about as disciplined in cutting back their barhopping as they are about going on diets every new year.

A related story mentions that retailers are seeing no real drop in booze sales, which means people are still getting silly, but they’re doing so in backyards, kitchens and dorm rooms.

Maybe there’s a business case for running screen networks in frat houses and off-campus rooming houses, but someone has to be prepared to install a new screen every hour or so.

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, 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”

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.