Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Walmart to roll out 2nd generation digital signage network with PRN and others

There has been much speculation about what (if anything) Walmart was planning to do with their in-store TV network, which has been more or less the same for quite a few years now. Some suspected they would in-house network and media operations. Others thought they would continue to let PRN operate it, much as they had before. Today it looks like the cat's out of the bag:
Custom programming on the new network will be provided by Studio2, a newly formed company led by key advertising executives who are experts in in-store communications and were involved in the development and testing of the new network.

Network operations, implementation, advertising sales and HDTV wall programming will be provided by Thomson's Premier Retail Networks (PRN), Walmart's current partner for these services.

Response measurement, learning, and message optimization technologies will be provided by DS-IQ, which supplied analytical insights for the network pilot last year.
PRN's involvement on the network end isn't surprising, since they have a rather low-cost means of getting content to lots of screens, and all of the usual best-of-breed content delivery features. However, Walmart decided to split the content part out into an entirely new company, which I think is pretty remarkable. While we've long felt that there are very few -- if, in fact any -- digital out of home agencies out there right now, it would seem that Walmart has not only agreed, but decided to take matters into their own hands (in a way that really only they can). I would more than expect that they'll take on other clients besides Walmart, which will probably result in a bunch of new best practices for digital signage content floating out there. Here's hoping that we see some additional validation of our own findings :)

Also noteworthy is DS-IQ's involvement. Needless to say, this is a HUGE deal for the company and their technology.

What I'm still waiting to hear is what, if any, role Saatchi X -- another entity essentially formed at Walmart's demand -- will play. After all, they're supposedly THE expert group when it comes to marketing at-retail, and we know they already spend a good deal of time poking around in Walmart stores on behalf of their biggest client.

I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this network in the news, and of course lots of people will be out there watching the roll out as it starts up in September.

Tags: , ,

No comments: