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Beyond Traditional Advertising

Apr 25, 2011 12:00 PM, by Vern Freedlander, Vice President, Production, X2O Media

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One of the first types of advertising to appear on digital signage networks was the traditional 15- or 30-second television commercial spot. At the time, network operators who were hungry for any kind of ads and media buyers who may not have known better placed this content, often without any repurposing, even though it didn’t necessarily resonate with digital signage audiences.

Digital signage is a unique medium, and this approach didn’t take into account some of the fundamental differences between digital signage and broadcast television. Digital signage viewers typically have very short dwell times and even a 15-second ad may be too long. Secondly, the content produced for a broadcast spot may not work, especially when the content is played back without sound.

But ads produced specifically for digital signage offer some leading-edge characteristics that can outperform broadcast. A great example is the ability to automatically target advertising depending on market conditions. For example, by applying business rules that govern ad playback, ads can be changed immediately from selling sunscreen to umbrellas based on incoming weather data. Likewise, a variety of rules can be applied based on a number of parameters including inventory levels, location, promotions, or even audience recognition.

Now combine this capability with some of the more non-traditional broadcast ad products and some exciting options emerge. One of these is the snipe, which is a lower-third animated ad message that pops up over content. Another is strategic logo placement. An approach familiar to television viewers is sponsored segments, where a full-screen graphic billboard appears to announce the sponsor for a certain piece of featured content.

All of these options provide new revenue streams beyond the traditional television spot. This allows sponsors to be more involved with the content, and provides sales teams with the opportunity to create more interesting advertising packages.

Vern Freedlander is vice president of production services for Montréal-based X2O Media, a full-service provider of technology, network management and content services for professional digital signage applications. With more than 20 years of broadcast television experience as a producer, director and executive, Freedlander oversees all of X2O Media’s content initiatives. He can be reached at

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