Wednesday, March 29, 2006

In-Store TV Networks = TV Place-Shifting... least according to this article at MediaPost (free reg required). Here's a brief clip:

That's right, TV has entered the final frontier: space. In much the way handheld devices such as Apple's iPod have freed TV programming and advertising from the physical restrains of TV sets, place-based media are bringing them into what may be some of the most relevant spaces. "We've coined the term 'shopper media,'" Spaeth says, noting that it isn't just TV that's invading the supermarket aisles, but also radio and other nonlinear media: digital screens that are Internet-connected, Bluetooth-enabled, and capable of knowing who is in front of them and what they might be interested in at that very moment.

Sounds a bit like a description from one of science fiction writer Philip K. Dick's amazingly prophetic novels, doesn't it? Maybe. But the future is definitely here. It's a far cry from the old world of retail media, known for point-of-purchase display cards, hang tags, and end-aisle displays.

This is not the first time Madison Avenue has been pitched by so-called place-based media networks. In fact, they were wildly popular in the 1990s, when big players ranging from NBC, Turner Broadcasting, and even McDonald's tried and failed to launch a new generation of shopper TV. NBC On-Site failed to get beyond the test stage. Turner's Check-Out Channel folded when supermarket cashiers kept pulling the plug or turning down the volume. Turner also tried and failed to launch a McDonald's Channel. In fact, the only place-based media network launched by a major during that period that is still around is CNN's Airport Network.

Those in-the-know in the digital signage industry are already aware of the big failures of the past, and we've all learned from them. However there still is a great deal of uncertainty around digital signage as a concept which is only going to be reduced as more vendor-neutral data on network success and ROI comes to light.

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