Friday, August 13, 2010

Capital Networks anticipates broadcasters will turn to digital signage to reach new audiences

This year, Capital Networks anticipates a significant growth of sales in the broadcast market due to new trends that include digital signage. The company is experiencing strong take up by broadcasters who are looking at new ways to communicate with people out of the home. Digital signage can help broadcasters reach new audiences in new public places. With the right system, a broadcaster will have a flexible, cost-effective – yet powerful – content management solution that delivers high quality presentations.
But broadcasters should beware of digital signage providers that cannot support a broadcaster's complex 'back office' needs - after all, the broadcaster's brand is at stake on every screen.

Broadcasters become content providers

Last year, Hubert Lacroix, the President of CBC – Canada's National Public Broadcaster – stated that the organisation's digital strategy heading forward should see it transform from a broadcaster to a content provider. This is a major shift. In Lacroix's words, CBC would become “the most important creator and distributor of Canadian content across all platforms, and to be deeply rooted in the regions.”
The development of digital services provides great opportunities as well as serious challenges for broadcasters. As audiences increasingly view content away from the television set, advertisers and broadcasters must adapt their strategies to reach out to consumers and ultimately generate new revenue streams.
CBC, like a number of other broadcasters, is working  to expand its brand in non-traditional ways. It is dedicated to delivering its news journalism to a wide audience and across a range of media, exploiting innovative new media to connect with people no matter where they are. At the same time though, players in this industry face tough challenges – increased competition, lower advertising revenues, investing in new distribution channels – so while they need to spread their brand and their content, they need to do so cost-effectively.

One key way that CBC is reaching new audiences across a number of regions, is through digital signage.

CBC – A case in point 

CBC has rolled-out its CBC News Express broadcast service to five major airports across Canada – including Toronto Pearson International Airport, the busiest in Canada – to ensure that critical news and weather reports are available to the thousands of people who pass through the country's airports each day. The service is powered by Capital Network’s  Audience digital signage solution, which enables CBC to present the latest video content and live data feeds for up-to-the minute local and national news, weather, business and sports updates. The Audience platform is highly scalable and so CBC will be able to deliver its CBC News Express service to more airports and more public spaces in the near future.

Content quality is critical for broadcasters

Flexibility and cost-efficiency have made software-based equipment increasingly attractive to broadcasters.  Yet they cannot compromise quality for cost because – as broadcasters -  they already have a reputation for delivering technologically advanced broadcasts across different media. It's important that they uphold this image wherever their broadcasts appear – be it on a home TV, a handheld device or a public plasma screen.
In order to achieve content quality, there are some core features that broadcast software must deliver. These are:
  • A flexible, sophisticated system that can handle everything from a simple hyper-local overlay to managing a large, diverse network displaying a wide variety of content. 
  • The option of producing an automated, multizone news package with content provided by external data feeds – enabling broadcasters to provide up-to-the-second updates. 
  • The ability to automatically display hyper-local content, different from the main station, without additional manual input 
  • The ability to support a variety of broadcast quality formats from standard to high definition. 

Broadcasters must be cautious of digital signage providers who specialise in just ‘front end signs’. Capital Networks started life as a supplier to the broadcast industry. We understand the market and the very specific needs of those who operate in it. We understand that the software must be smart and flexible – in particular when it comes to configuration and scheduling. If you are a news provider, that news must be up-to-the-minute from live feeds and it must have some local content. Broadcasters can't afford to take on teams of people to create or manage that content, so the software must have smart scheduling.

Flexibility in terms of configuration is also a key requirement for a broadcaster who may have different content requirements at different sites. To return to the airport example: at a large, international airport, the broadcaster will certainly want to break into live global news from satellites, along with live video feeds. Whereas, for a small commuter airport, the system may be more video-based, using captions, but it may also need more on local news and weather updates.

Our Audience solution is designed to support custom presentations and content at individual locations across a network . That way, a broadcaster can have signs in – say – 100 different sites across a region but ensure that each screen and its content is appropriate to that site. This ensures much more efficient and targeted operations.

Returns from new advertising opportunities – the growth of the DOOH sector

Let's not forget the significant commercial revenues that digital signs can provide for broadcasters.  DOOH (Digital Out Of Home) expenditures worldwide will grow 4.7% to $6.69 billion (£4.1 billion), according to the third annual PQ Media Global Digital Out-of-Home Media Forecast 2009-2014. Within that, the fastest growing DOOH segment is digital billboards, which the report predicts will grow by 13.2% in 2010.

DOOH brings a lot of advantages over traditional static formats such as poster billboards. On the cost side, digital networks fed remotely from a central server save much of the cost compared to the staff-intensive manual maintenance of traditional sites. On the revenue side, the added value of digital sites over traditional sites allow advertising sales house to attract more advertisers and trade at higher costs-per-thousand. Digital displays also allow for more creative and flexible advertising campaigns that can generate higher return on investment.

Broadcasters and media companies are especially efficient when getting involved with digital signage because they already have the infrastructure in place to successfully manage it. Our broadcast and media partners already have advertising customers and the sales, billing, scheduling and content creation staff that go along with that, so there’s much less risk than there would be to a company starting from scratch.

And it's not just broadcasters that want to broadcast

Looking forward into next year, and the coming years, we will expand our presence in this  market. It's certainly a growth market as the players take on IP-based distribution technologies beyond traditional broadcast -  including IPTV, Mobile TV and Digital Signage. Capital Networks already works with the BBC, CBC, CTV and Rogers Communications, as well as a number of Cable TV companies.

What we're now finding is that it's not just broadcast companies that want to use digital signs for broadcast media. Many other markets are taking on broadcast systems to communicate information across multiple sites. For example, this might be a military base that broadcasts to the military and civilian personnel on its bases. Their requirements are the same as those of large broadcasters: they want to show top level information – such as Pentagon TV – but they also want hyper-local information that's truly relevant  to a specific region, campus or even building.

No comments:

Post a Comment