Aka.tv is starting an opinion section where industry pundits and players can comment on the various and (sometimes) sundry items that we face when planning and deploying digital signage networks. The first article to come out of this is a piece on the difference between playlists and file loops, written by Brian Dusho from BroadSign. Here's a clip:
Suppose you have a network of 100 supermarket locations in five different markets. Each supermarket has displays in the aisles and at the checkout. The aisle displays play different content than those at the checkout, so there are two channels of programming.Brian is definitely loop-centric, leading me to believe that is one of his product's strenths :) Still, the article is a good read, and the rest of it can be found here. I recommend you check it out (free reg requried from aka.tv)
If you sell time per market per channel per week, you must create, approve, manage and deliver ten playlists weekly, assuming that the content is the same every day. Each playlist must be assembled, approved, and delivered to the appropriate playback device on schedule. Each playlist must be manually arranged so each ad can be exposed a certain number of times.
What if an advertiser requested exposure in a special group of locations for a special occasion? For example, a car dealer only wants to advertise at locations within ten miles of his dealership starting Wednesday for a week. With the playlist approach, you would either need many custom playlists, or a programmer to code custom playback rules in order to partially automate the existing playlists. This is still possible, yet costly.
Now imagine all of your advertisers are asking for custom media buys. This would require creating, approving, managing and delivering up to 200 unique playlists per day-part, per day – or many more lines of custom programming code. Because of that, with playlist-based scheduling you are forced to only allow simple ad campaigns or it becomes cost-prohibitive to operate.