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Archive for April, 2011

Sean Andersen’s and Garry McGuire’s keynotes at CETW both focused on the future of DOOH being tied to its integration with Mobile and Social platforms.

The Venn Diagram of Mobile + Local + Social should be the flag for our industry. It’s already been waved by people outside of DOOH including some of the most respected names in technology including John Doerr of Keliner Perkins Caufield and Byers (an investor in RMG) and Mary Meeker (who now works at KPCB). Doerr is even credited with coming up with the SoLoMo phrase used by Sean in his keynote.

The convergence of Social, Local and Mobile is critically important to our industry. Mobile and social platforms are like bridges connecting to an archipelago of DOOH islands. The result is that engagement, experiences, advertising, revenue and measurement can then travel around those islands rather than being constrained and/or restricted to a single island.

The islands and bridges metaphor might also be useful in other respects. Bridges are rarely temporary structures, and that’s why it’s important for DOOH networks to think beyond next months tactical campaign and instead to focus on the strategic platform solutions that enable ultity to venues as well as advertisers and end users.

To that end, RMG announced relationships with BlueBite, Groupon, Screenreach and LocaModa that underpin RMG’s commitment to a connected DOOH future. As Garry McGuire says (and I 100% agree), “While these announcements involve RMG, I believe this is the way the industry is moving and they are not exclusive to us, I think that with such developments, this will explode across the industry.”


Apparently it’s a big week if you’re into weddings.

Over in Britain, my friends and relatives are just delighted to be paying for a swanky wedding that they’re not invited to. At least they can enjoy a street party with all the other peasants.

On this side of the pond, the big nuptials are at CETW where DOOH and Location Based Services will be walking up the aisle together. We know they’ve been engaged for a while, but only close friends and relatives knew they were about to tie the knot.

That might upset a few who’ve been titillated about the salacious rumors of a threesome between DOOH, Mobile and QR codes. “Yes, they’re sometimes seen hanging out in the same places, but even if they’ve had the occasional fling, they’re not the marrying kind. And anyway, even if they could get it on in the few seconds that mobile needs, it’s pretty obvious, it can’t lead to anything serious now that LBS and DOOH are getting hitched.” Said a friend of DOOH who wished to remain anonymous.

Enjoy the pomp and circumstance of CETW and/or the Royal Wedding later this week!


As the crisis in Japan continues to unfold, getting electricity to essential services is understandably more important than keeping some of its digital out-of-home screens lit up.

I don’t want to suggest that any business challenges are more or less important than humanitarian ones, but just what would it take to make a DOOH network in Japan (or anywhere for that matter) so essential, it must be kept running?

Google succeeds via the utility of search, before it monetizes via advertising. Facebook succeeds via the utility of connecting friends and family, before it monetizes via advertising. Like Google and Facebook, DOOH networks need to provide useful services and applications to the environments in which they operate before they can be monetized for secondary purposes such as advertising.

One way DOOH screens in Japan could be more valuable is to display hyper-local real-time updates at locations where people are struggling to remain informed.

We don’t need a crisis to learn that DOOH screens must provide utility and value.


This week’s Digital Out Of Home Forum in New York has produced at least one great sound bite and therefore an opportunity for a “punny” headline and some fighting words…

As reported by MediaPost, keynoter Trevor Kaufman, said, “Frankly, we don’t care about digital out-of-home.” He went on to explain in a sentence what I’ve spent more than three years screaming – “the value of digital media is not “distribution” per se, so much as it is about getting people to interact with stuff.” Learn from the web. e.g. Google, Netflix, eBay.

Enable an audience to interact when and where they choose – on-line or off – not just in front of your screen, but in front of anyone’s screen and you might even attract interactive budgets and sustain your DOOH business – otherwise, my DOOH, I don’t give a damn. And nor will anyone else.

I’m too fond of reminding people that we never used to rush home to watch advertising – we might have rushed home to watch Sienfield, or American Idol. Well, now we don’t even do that, becuase we can get content where and when we want. Content has had to go where the party is – Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Facebook. What do those brands have in common? WEB WEB WEB WEB WEB.

TV isn’t dead, it’s getting reinvented as a multi-screen experience. So must DOOH.


I’m a huge fan of the TED conferences. I find much of their content inspiring and I’m happy to spread the word by tweeting and blogging with links to their presentations. That’s good for TED as it helps increase their brand awareness and demand for their tickets.

My experience is that most conferences are not like TED.

Many conferences operate with the old school mentality that little or nothing is shared outside of the event. Of course, this reduces the potential impact of a conference’s marketing, sustainability and ultimate value. The opposite of the TED strategy.

Furthermore, (and this a pet peeve of mine) many speakers at many conferences think it’s ok to give sales pitches when the audience has paid (with their time and/or money) to gain insights. Except for talks explicitly centered around a company’s products or services and excusing a brief introduction that can include an elevator pitch, speakers at conferences are there as “knowledge brokers” first and company representatives second.

Our industry – whether that’s Place-Based Networks, DOOH, OOH, Location-Based Services, Digital Signage, Narrowcasting… is moving so fast we need more openness and sharing of best practices at conferences rather than sales pitches.

I’d like to promote the following three guiding principals in the interests of getting better and more valuable conferences.

1. Conference collateral (e.g. presentations, papers, videos) should be freely available and spreadable. I use Slideshare. You can find my conference presentations here and various other documents (white papers and articles) here. This is neither difficult nor expensive to implement.

2. Conferences should be as connected as possible. 1. Don’t ban or charge extortionate sums for WiFi! 2. Have real-time streams displayed on screens and websites displaying conference messages, related hash-tags and checkins. This helps promote and extend a conference’s impact and could even be up-sold to sponsors. Again, it’s easy and inexpensive and can more than pay for itself in terms of marketing and enhanced user experience.

3. Conference speakers should not be allowed to pitch on a stage set up to help educate, engage or entertain. Maybe a brave conference organizer could use a gong on stage – if a speaker pitches, they get gonged. That will definitely stop pitches!

I’m speaking at the following conferences in the coming weeks (and am happy to connect with you at any of those events or via email at srandall at locamoda dot com or via twitter stephenrandall):

- Geoworld Summit, May 12th 2011, Brooklyn, NYC
- ScreenMedia Expo 2011, May 18-19th, Earls Court, London
- Digital Signage Forum, May 24th Sydney
- Digital Signage Forum, May 26th Melbourne
- Digital Signage Forum, May 31st Auckland

I believe I walk the walk as well as talk the talk – so by all means, heckle me if you don’t agree!