Video screens are infiltrating every type of commercial realestate, including retail, transit, cinema and office locations.They've already earned must-have technology status in officebuildings, retail stores, airports, gas stations, hospitals andeven elevators.


"Tenants spend about three minutes a day watching content onscreens in office lobbies," says Jim Harris, CEO of Office Media Network,a privately held Chicago-based company and operators of The WallStreet Journal Office Network. Since forming the lobby- andelevator-based network information system in June 2006, it hasexpanded from 10 buildings to 560 buildings in 15 markets.


Advertisers describe the spread of video screens as digitalsignage and out-of-home media: technologies that connect withconsumers in captive environments. The screens carry a combinationof proprietary content, in-house messages and targeted ads sellingeverything from cell phones to cars, giving property owners anopportunity to inform, entertain and earn.


More advanced digital signage systems allow central systemmanagement and remote scheduling of content to deliver targetedmessages to specific locations at specific times to pinpointaudiences. The Wall Street Journal Office Network, for instance,delivers news from the Wall Street Journal, buildingcommunications and advertising targeted at business professionals,as well as upper level executives, directors and managers.


Unlike home TVs or even computer screens, viewers can't blockthe ads, which are placed on the screen like banners on a website.As Patrick Quinn, president and CEO of PQ Media, explains,"Ironically, the trends impeding traditional media--consumerfragmentation and control, advertising accountability and theemergence of digital technology--are the catalysts for thetremendous growth in alternative out-of-home advertising. It isimpervious to channel or web surfing and is immune to audiencefragmentation."


That's a key reason it's one of the fastest-growing segments ofthe media industry. It's expanded at double-digit rates every yearfrom 2001 to 2006 and posting compound annual growth of 22.6%,according to the PQ Media Alternative Out-of-Home Media Forecast2007-2011. Marketers invest about $1.2 billion of their nationalmedia budgets in out-of-home advertising, including officebuilding-based media networks, according to Profitable Channels, amarketing services company.


For property owners, it's a potential win-win, industryprofessionals say. They can use the screens, which they typicallyreceive free, to communicate to tenants in real-time rather than onlobby easels or whiteboards. "Owners share in the advertisingrevenue, and, in the process, demonstrate their commitment toinnovative, value-added tenant amenities," Harris says.


Most adults say advertising on digital signage catches theirattention--and call it unique, entertaining and less annoying thanboth traditional and online media, according to a study last yearby OTX (Online Testing eXchange) conducted for SeeSaw Networks.


Multiple digital signage companies have emerged in the past fewyears, typically targeting a specific real estate niche. Oak Park,MI-based Gas Station TV is seen on more than 5,000 monitors in 365US cities. Care Media Holding's KidCARE TV network is seen in theoffices of approximately 1,000 pediatricians. Screenvision serves2,369 movie theaters.


But industry professionals say office buildings are one of thepotentially most profitable, and therefore, hotly contestedmarkets. In February, Captivate Network filed a patent infringementlawsuit against Office Media Network. The suit, filed in the USDistrict Court for the District of Delaware, alleges the OfficeMedia Network infringes on Captivate patents covering elevatoradvertising display systems, and seeks damages, attorney's fees andan injunction.


Captivate was bought in 2004 by Gannett Satellite Network Inc. asubsidiary of Gannett Co. Inc. It had coexisted without incidentwith the Office Media Network until the latter expanded fromlobbies to elevators last fall.


Captivate considers elevators its domain. The company deliversnews, weather and stock updates in partnership with CNN andGannett-owned stations to people riding elevators in about 700office buildings in 21 markets.


The Office Media Network claims the suit is without merit.

A Sampling of Digital SignCompanies



Target Market

Adspace Networks

102 Class A shoppingmalls

Arena MediaNetworks

Stadiums, Arena's and EntertainmentVenues

Captivate Network

671 Class A Office Towers in theUS

Care Media HoldingsInc.

1,000 pediatricoffices

CBS Outernet



1500 Commercial fitness centers andbowling facilities

Gas Station TV

465 Gas Stations

Healthcare NewsNetwork

Hospital common area and patientrooms

NTN Buzztime, Inc

3400 Family Restaurants, Sports Bars,Pubs

OnSite Network, Inc.(OSN)

Restaurant & SportsBars

On-Spot Digital Network at SimonMalls

49 Class A shoppingmalls

ProLink Network

400 golf courses


186 Class A shopping malls and movietheaters


2369 MovieTheaters

The Wall Street Journal OfficeNetwork

480 Class A officetowers

Source:Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau

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