Content: Looking Behind The Curtain -

Content: Looking Behind The Curtain

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NewBay Media, the publishers of Digital Signage Magazine, publishes magazines and runs web portals and produces events for allied markets: commercial AV, pro video production, pro audio, high end home theater, and more audio- and videorelated segments. That is our strength. We bring our readers and our advertisers into new markets and into new technologies.

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What makes the digital signage market different is clear. Digital signage is, I’ve often said, really just taking the AV technology that’s been available in the boardroom, classroom, and living room out of doors, out of closed rooms, or “out of home” as the DOOH (digital out of home) acronym suggests. True, but what sets digital signage apart from a supplier perspective is the content factor. All of the other video- or AV-related markets are really about the professional community supplying gear to end users who then generate their own content for use in a relatively contained space (or broadcast out to one video format). Digital signage, on the other hand, certainly is gear-intensive, but its needs for content creation, content management, and content distribution to disparate formats are great.

The importance of content in digital signage is not reflected in the trade press, or what passes often as “press” in the digital age. Most of the traditional AV trade press and all of the seat-of-the-pants blogs and web sites springing up are still gear-obsessed. For the traditional press, this is just a holdover from the days when new generations of technology were slow to roll out, and when a relatively small number of gear manufacturers set the pace for industry evolution. For the bloggers, focusing on gear, and on industry gossip, is a quick path to low-hanging fruit.

For serious press, understanding the digital signage industry and imparting that understanding to our readers and partners is a an ongoing task comprised of: pursuing in-depth articles and analysis in print magazines, online, and through daily news coverage; producing major conferences, including virtual conferences; partnering with the bona-fide trade associations like NAB and InfoComm to advance the industry with education, training, and certification of suppliers; publishing show dailies at major trade shows (like NAB, InfoComm, and Digital Signage Expo); organizing education tracks at major trade shows and conferences; and organizing and running the major awards programs that recognize excellence in the industry — including recognizing the best content being produced in the digital signage arena.

I’m in the middle of a year with all of the above (and more) in the works. Hard to say which is the most important. I can say that the most interesting new development this year is our new “Virtual Trade Show” for digital signage. We held the first one back in April. It was so successful, we are following up with a second virtual event, Digital Signage 2010, in late October this year. (Log onto www.digitalsignageweekly. com for details.) And you can be sure, content production, management, and distribution will be addressed at the virtual event, in spades.


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The Media Player Grows Up

At the most fundamental level, rolling out a digital signage system — whether for retail, education, corporate applications, transportation, or entertainment venues — involves the use of some kind of media player to get content up on the screens.

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Taking a Second Look at LCD

Back in early spring, when news was released that Samsung’s LCD biz had been realigned, we are awash in pundits’ and mass media pronouncements that LCD was on the way out. OLED was the new acronym de jour. We’d all be watching OLED TVs soon, and the mall the train station would sport OLED displays in all their 10,000,000:1 contrast ratio glory. Maybe it was the word “organic” in the name. It does sound cool, and vaguely politically correct: “organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels”.

The HD/Display/Projection Race Heats Up

Id just arrived at the show in Vegas. Again. But why did I have to keep looking at my own badge to remind myself what show this is? Its April in Las Vegas, so it could only be NAB, the National Association of Broadcasters show. But 2005 is evolving oddly, and I have the feeling Ill be in acute existential anxiety all year, as I try to remember which vertical market is which, sort out the contenders in this odd race, and bet on winners.