Monday, October 06, 2008

Titan Worldwide to implement big digital out-of-home signage network

Being able to plunk down $90 million on a speculative project during the worst economic times since the Great Depression is an indicator of extreme confidence, borderline insanity, or, possibly, both.  But that's precisely what Titan Worldwide has announced they're doing, as this press release notes that, "by the end of 2008, brand new breeds of digital signs will start to change the way brands advertise to consumers and how consumers respond to advertising in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland. Starting in the key U.S. markets and London (with Ireland and Canada to follow soon) Titan Worldwide will rollout digital signs across its bus, rail and subway portfolio."

Titan's Lou Giacalone, formerly of AdSpace/CoolSign fame, has been working on this project for a long while now -- I think I first spoke to him about it a year or so ago.  He was even able to get a room full of people to start talking about technology standards back at DSE 2008 -- an effort which has yielded the POPAI Digital Signage Standards group, which is very busily working away at integration and interoperability documents right now.

One wonders, though. With Giacalone at the helm, will Titan funnel a couple of extra bucks to Planar to reconnect him with his old brainchild?  After all, if they can spend $90M on a network, what's another $20M for a dysfunctional software company?

I kid, I kid...

In all seriousness, the company is deploying a number of interesting formats, including:

Bus Digital Kings -- King size 12-foot displays that use the latest LED and GPS technology.

Platform Displays -- Large HD screens that will form one the largest pieces of Titan's digital rollout with over 1,200 planned in Chicago alone.

Interior Rail Displays -- Titan will also offer large commuting audiences the opportunity to be engaged and entertained within the trains with large HD, GPS-enabled displays.

Urban Panels -- Titan's street-level subway displays with HD screens on both sides of the display.

U.K. Rail 6 sheets -- Over 100 digital D6's (6 ft x 4 ft) in some of London's busiest rail locations.

The company plans to allow for geolocalized content (thanks to embedded GPS sensors), as well as the usual dayparting, etc. They also plan to run ads on all of the screens, since that's their business, but some entertainment and informational stuff on the smaller screens as well.

As to whether all of this fancy stuff will work, Titan is already a pretty big player in the outdoor marketing world, so they probably have a good handle on the sales side of things. That makes this deal more akin to Clear Channel's electronic billboard network, and we know those things are crazy profitable once you amortize the cost of the screens.

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Benzi said...

What is the ROI on this project? With such an investment, how long before they make money?

Bill Gerba said...

There's a big debate on digital signage ROI and how to calculate it. My company has written about it quite a bit. Check out our digital signage page and our blog archive for a list of articles.