There have been a few developments in digital signage that have brought it closer to the point where the great promise of abundant ad revenues would finally come true. New networks are being deployed every month and the existing networks are growing bigger, and so creating the critical mass of ad space that would be of interest to agencies and their clients.
Both investments and ad revenue in digital out-of-home have been steadily increasing over the past five years, and they have been on the rise even in the middle of the recession, when all other media were contracting. The advertising community is now acutely aware and interested in the new medium. The Outof- home Video Advertising Bureau (OVAB) has successfully communicated the value of DOOH to marketers and is now working to introduce the best practices and standards that would make DOOH part of media plans. OVAB Europe and ABDOH in Brazil are doing the same in their respective regions.
Meanwhile, a few critical obstacles are still preventing ad budgets from flowing into digital out-of-home media on a more massive scale. Among them is a missing piece of technology. One of the key barriers has been the lack of a technology that would enable fully-automated execution of ad campaigns across multiple networks — from an insertion order to campaign monitoring to an affidavit and proof-of play reports.
Several aggregators — Argo Digital Solution, SeeSaw, AdCentricity, BookingDOOH, etc., have created web interfaces providing a unified view of media properties offered by many networks, which undoubtedly made media buyers’ job much easier. However, these aggregation platforms only deal with the media planning/buying aspect, and not the execution part.
When it comes to the actual fulfillment of a campaign, behind the scenes the process remains for the most part low-tech and involves complex communication with each network separately by phone or email, to ensure content delivery, compliance and reporting. Once all the disparate data is gathered, aggregators will enter it into their unified forms to be sent to the buyers. All this adds a high overhead to the cost of a media buy and ties significant resources in campaign processing.
To help solve this challenge, in early 2009 BroadSign introduced BroadSign Open API (Application Protocol Interface) — an interface that allows any BroadSign powered network to open their media properties to a third party via the BroadSign Server. The fact that all of these networks run on BroadSign SaaS and reside on the largest shared tenant infrastructure creates an unprecedented opportunity for automating the full cycle of cross-network media placement through BroadSign Open. The full cycle includes, in addition to the planning and buying operations, such functions as insertion orders, content upload, scheduling and playback verification, proof of play reporting and affidavits (see Figure 1). The Traffic and Operations functions shown on the diagram comprise the campaign execution module that BroadSign has automated for cross-network media buys.
In May 2009 BroadSign integrated its BroadSign Open API with Argo Digital Solution’s DOOH media exchange — rVue, thus combining rVue’s media planning tool with BroadSign’s automated campaign execution module. It means that from now on, any ad campaign placed through rVue will be standardized and fully automated, from planning to playback and reporting. Does BroadSign Open mean BroadSign is competing with the aggregators? The answer is an explicit ‘on the contrary’. By adding the missing technology module— automated campaign execution— BroadSign makes aggregators’ work more efficient and allows them to cut overhead.
Any aggregator can connect to BroadSign run networks via BroadSign Open and have access to a potential universe of 160 networks in 25 countries. The caveat here is that each network has to agree to work with that aggregator.
What has been our company’s goal in launching BroadSign Open? To sum it up:
• Advertisers get an added scale to their campaigns by having a onestop- shop access to BroadSign powered networks.
• Advertisers get a faster turn-around on the campaign processing and agency-style proof-of-play reports and affidavits.
• Aggregators get a smooth, automated campaign execution module that helps eliminate a significant amount of manual labor and communication.
• Aggregators have one access point to reach 160 networks, with thousands of venues vs. trying to contact hundreds of networks individually running on multiple technology platforms, infrastructure and reporting standards.
• Networks can become part of largescale media buys at no risk and no cost, maximizing their ad revenue. The cost of access to big ad dollars is minimized. Networks don’t have to wait till they are big enough to interest buyers on their own.
• Even small, 1-to-3-screen networks can join thousands of other screens on BroadSign Open and start generating ad revenue, not worrying about their current scale.
• BroadSign SaaS has built-in tools for implementing OVAB-endorsed best practices and future standards. Using BroadSign Open for crossnetwork campaign execution helps the DOOH industry as awhole to earn a legitimate place at the media buyers’ table. Automated execution of ad campaigns across multiple networks — from insertion order all the way through to proof-of-play reports, will propel the
digital signage industry to the next level.
We at Broadsign are working to take anactive lead in that evolution, and look
forward to a continuing boom in DOOH.