Wednesday, October 03, 2007

More info on the i-vu digital signage network investment

Ask and ye shall receive, I always say, and Adrian Cotterill over at the Daily DOOH was kind enough to forward the press release that I was looking for regarding the i-vu investment deal mentioned yesterday. For extra credit, check out the Wikipedia page for General Mediterranean Holdings, the organization making the investment. I'm starting to feel that things may not be entirely what they seem, and I wouldn't be surprised if the $82M was contingent upon the firm winning a number of contracts that require massive amounts of money to front the hardware costs.

NEWS RELEASE CONTACT: Ash Communications
October 2007 TEL: +44 (0) 20 7734 5666

In one of the largest investments in outdoor digital seen in the UK, leading
interactive digital screen media network owner, i-vu, has secured £40
million (US$80 million) of new funding, which will make it the largest
digital network in the world - with well over 300 per cent growth in the UK
and USA in one year - and enabling it to expand into Europe.

As a result of the investment, i-vu is also planning to create its own
content for the network, develop its interactive offering to advertisers,
increase partnerships with a range of content providers and develop the
network as the leading interactive customer service and management tool for
the salon industry.

By the end of the year, i-vu will have around 2,200 screens in the UK in the
middle to upper range of hairdressing salons - which cater for young
professionals and highly affluent clients - giving advertisers a footfall of
1.147 million per month. A target of 2,500 screens is planned for Summer
2008 in the UK and 7,000 screens in the US by 31 December 2007.

As part of the expansion, i-vu is committed to changing its programming
daily and has entered into a new content partnership with EMI and cemented
existing relationships with channels such as E!, BBC Worldwide, CBS and ABC.
It now enjoys 120 different content streams. i-vu has also strengthened its
collaboration with L'Oreal in the US and UK.

In addition, i-vu has secured a raft of new salon chains in the past few
months including some of the largest in the UK such as Jo Hansford,
Francesco group, Lookfantastic and in the USA such as
Toni & Guy (USA) and the Regis Corporation.

The funding is provided via General Mediterranean Holdings (GMH Group),
which has consolidated assets in excess of US$4 billion and owns several
media businesses worldwide, including Korad, part of Ogilvy and Mather, and
Middle East Online. .../

Mike Anstey, ceo, i-vu, says: "i-vu has come of age. It has its own voice
and character, which reflects the dynamic lifestyle of its viewers, and
advertisers now understand the appeal of its interactive, up-to-the minute
programming. GMH Group recognises the potential of digital media and
particularly i-vu's unchallenged position in the market and will provide the
platform for us to build on all that we have achieved to date."

Over the past five years i-vu has established partnerships with some of the
leading names in the salon world, including: Clipso, Cobella, Headmasters,
Nicky Clarke, Richard Ward, Rush and Trevor Sorbie. It has also attracted
advertising client such as 20th Century Fox, BMW, Gillette, GlaxosmithKline,
L'Oreal, Masterfoods, Nokia, Toyota, Warner Bros and Wella. The funding it
has now attracted will enable it to significantly increase its penetration
in the UK, USA and Europe and provide advertising brands with the benefits
of size and structure.

GMH Group was founded in 1979 and today is a diverse business group with
activities in banking and finance, real estate and construction, hotels and
leisure, industrial, trading and pharmaceuticals, communications and IT and
aviation. Its 120 companies employ over 7,000 people in the Middle East,
Northern Africa, Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean, Asian sub continent
and the Pacific Rim. With consolidated assets in excess of US$4 billion,
GMH Group brands include Korad, Ogilvy & Mather; Arabic News Broadcast; Le
Royal Hotels; Hilton Hotel, Beirut; and, Unysis buildings, London.

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