Scala Moves Further into Low-Cost SaaS Market

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by David Keene

Interesting news released just this morning: Scala has acquired the SignChannel division of Boston-based Thinking Screen Media. It’s not a surprise really, because Scala and Thinking Screen Media already had a co-marketing agreement in place, and because the two companies main product offerings are very different. By acquiring Thinking Screen Media, Scala is moving more aggressively into the lower-cost, SaaS side of the digital signage content management software arena– to complement their more sophisticated Premise-Based content management software offerings.

Thinking Screen Media moved into my radar last year, when we awarded them a DIGI Award:
• Best New Content Management Software/Web-based (SaaS):
SignChannel, from Thinking Screen Media

Tom Wetmore from Thinking Screen Media was on hand at our DIGI Awards Ceremony in New York last October to receive the Award, and Tom did a good job of explaining the gist of SignChannel. Thinking Screen Media’s roots are straightforward: they come from the “digital photo frame” side of the market. Not exactly high end, but Thinking Screen Media learned by marketing digital photo frames on the consumer side, that the product could be adapted for use in simple digital signage systems for doctors offices, etc.

This is the official release today from Scala:

Scala Acquires SignChannel from Thinking Screen Media to Define New Category of Self-Service Digital Signage

Scala, the world’s leading platform for digital signage has acquired the SignChannel division of Thinking Screen Media. SignChannel is a new category of self-service digital signage service that is both low cost and easy to use.

SignChannel is an advertising-free, subscription-based service. It lets subscribers supplement their own promotional content with captivating commercial content such as weather, stock, news or sports updates.

“No one today has a digital signage offering for small business owners to deploy and manage themselves. SignChannel is the first,” said Gerard Bucas, Chief Executive Officer, Scala. “By leveraging low-cost media players such as wireless photo frames and Scala’s template capability, a small to medium business owner can easily set up their own digital signage network, create compelling content and manage their playlists through a simple Web interface. Coupled with SignChannel’s built-in media content, it is so innovative that we feel it truly presents a new paradigm in our industry”.

“Other traditional digital signage systems, including Scala’s award-winning Scala 5 software, need a reseller or system integrator to install the system, a graphic designer to create content and an IT person to manage the network” said Jeff Porter, Executive Vice President, Scala. “With SignChannel, you have an affordable do-it-yourself SaaS solution for small- and medium-sized businesses.”

“Scala has been a great help to us in the last year to get our SignChannel service started. Their server side software enabled us to bring a wide variety of professionally designed templates for a variety of vertical markets to the existing lineup of more than 500 media channels of news, weather, sports, stocks and local information for our service,” said Alan Phillips, CEO, Thinking Screen Media. “Now, Scala will be able to take SignChannel to the next level by leveraging its presence in the global digital signage marketplace.”

With Scala’s substantial investment, Thinking Screen Media will also continue to develop their award-winning, consumer-focused FrameChannel platform (www.framechannel.com), which is supported by advertising. FrameChannel is available on more than 20 connected devices, including the iPad. Unlike FrameChannel, which contains advertising supported content, SignChannel is an advertising-free, subscription-based service.


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