Wednesday, September 13, 2006

IdeaCast to launch in-gym narrowcast network

AdWeek tells us that, "[f]ormer ad agency executive Fred Smith is launching a media company called IdeaCast that will target consumers as they work out at their health clubs. Smith and his backers have spent $15 million securing programming rights from networks including CNN, CNBC and ESPN, and deploying reception equipment in participating venues." While more like a cable TV station (and thus slightly less like a true digital signage system), the network is unique in that it is securing massive amounts of commercial content and rights to redistribute it to a very targeted set of locations. The group claims that when it goes live later this month, it will be in enough high-end gyms to reach 1,000,000 viewers each day. While I know that I'm usually listening to my iPod or staring off into space when I'm at the gym, it's hard to look around and not at least glimpse a TV somewhere, and for just that brief period of time, you technically would be watching it.

Still, it remains to be seen how effective an out-of-home media channel can be when it's far away (both logistically and conceptually) from the actual point of purchase. Smith and his backers seem pretty confident, though, having plunked down a lot of money to see this network get off the ground.

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