Tuesday, February 07, 2006

100,000 digital signs

Today must be stupid press release day. First the one about Clarity/CoolSign, and now this:

EZ Show LLC, a multimedia production and distribution company and Marketing Team One, Inc. (MTOI), a sales and executive marketing enterprise, have solidified their agreement to cooperatively deploy networked LCD screens in retail stores, for the narrowcasting of content. This content will be a combination of 50% programming and 50% advertisements, delivered in split-screen style, complete with ticker.
Ok, no big deal, you think. This guy's just overreacting, you think. And then you get to this paragraph:
EZ Show focuses on its core competency of creating and delivering content, while MTOI identifies and procures retail destinations that deliver multitudes of active shopper's eyeballs. Currently there are over 10,000 locations in the MTOI pipeline, with 100,000 locations planned over the next two years.
If I were to take the high road, I'd wish them well and that would be that. But honestly, 100,000 screens? That's ambitious for even a digital signage mega-behemoth like Focus Media. For anybody who thinks that this is a good business model, go out and do as much research as possible on a now-defunct company called Next Generation Networks, or NGN Networks. Back in the late 90's and early 2000 they deployed thousands of screens to convenience stores, only to find that they could never recoup the capital cost of the deployment, let alone turn a profit. There were many good reasons why this was. Many. So if you're in the advertising business and thinking about deploying signs randomly to every place you can think of, look them up before you start writing down your business plan.

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