Tuesday, October 24, 2006

UK digital signage networks mostly brand-oriented, updated somwehat infrequently

Aka.tv reports that Realisation Marketing Services for Samsung and industry working group "The Screen" completed an "admittedly non-exhaustive" study of the digital signage market in the UK. While best known for massive ad-funded networks in Sainsburys, Asda and Tesco, the researchers found that in their, "sample of 151 retailers and network operators in the difficult months of July and August, the survey published this week concludes that the typical captive audience network in the UK is a single-channel enterprise focused on branding rather than advertising, updated weekly or monthly, often via optical media."

Amazingly, about 84% of respondants said that branding (retailer and supplier) was the most important function of the network, as opposed to advertising, which many of us often consider to be a prime target because of the potential of an easily calculable ROI. However, this does mirror what some US network owners (like Nike) have said in the past as well.

Also interesting is the fact that most networks are updated either weekly or monthly, and even with that information, most networks are still updated with CDs or DVDs sent in the mail. While broadband-powered networks were close behind (at 38% to optical media's 44%), that means there are still a tremendous number of screens out there that rely on physical media distribution. To me that makes a lot of sense for people like Focus Media in China, where labor costs are very low, but to hear that it was the same way in the much more expensive UK came as quite a surprise.

One final note from the study: "Most retailers think that £1000-5000 ($1859-9297) would be a reasonable per-store investment in digital signage, according to the research." if that's a per-screen estimate, it's aggressive, but doable. Obviously expecting that multiple screens could be installed (and maintained) for that cost would be much less realistic.

Past articles on UK networks include:

JC Decaux loses Tesco TV deal
Tesco TV set back by store management turn-off
It's official, TescoTV is struggling
More news of Tesco problems
Tesco And ASDA win awards for digital retailing
Asda set to deploy in-store TV rollout

Tags: digital signage, in-store TV, retail TV, advertising, in-store media, digital media network

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