CBS, Agencies Adopt SeeSaw As Digital Out-Of-Home Standard

In a bid to become the industry standard platform for planning, buying and selling digital out-of-home media, SeeSaw Networks today is announcing deals that will license its technology to buyers and sellers who want to utilize it to manage their own inventory. On the sell side, CBS' Outernet division has become the first outside sales organization to adopt the new "Powered by SeeSaw" system. On the buy side, fledgling digital media shop Digital Hive has become the first agency to standardize its digital out-of-home media planning and buying system around a new Web-based platform, SeeSawAds.com, that will enable advertisers and agencies manage their digital out-of-home campaigns.

The initiatives bring SeeSaw one step closer to realizing its dream of becoming the "Google" of the burgeoning digital out-of-home media marketplace, effectively becoming and standardized platform for aggregating the disparate, and rapidly expanding array of place-based video networks.

"We have to make this business easier for people to use, and we have to give people the opportunity to customize what they are doing," says Virginia Cargill, president of CBS Outernet, which operates place-based video networks in grocery stores, automotive service centers, and the GameStop video game rental network. She says CBS Outernet effectively is making the Powered by SeeSaw its internal sales system, and that CBS made that decision after talking to a cross section of advertisers and agencies who liked the ease-of-use, and the sophisticated "life stage" approach to planning digital out-of-home media buys.

"A media planner can be sitting there at 1 a.m. and call it up on their laptop and plan a media buy to reach exact audience they are looking for. That's a lot easier than calling us up and asking us to develop a plan," Cargill explained, confirming that Powered by SeeSaw will now be CBS Outernet's exclusive system.

Another advantage of the deal is that CBS retains control of its own inventory. SeeSaw does not handle sales for any of CBS' place-based video networks.

The deal also gives advertisers who utilize SeeSaw more critical mass of the disparate digital out-of-home marketplace.

"We have close to 30,000 venues in the SeeSaw network and we're still growing. CBS adds another 10,000 venues in their own right," says SeeSaw chief Peter Bowen. Bowen says there are no good estimates for the overall size of the digital out-of-home marketplace, so it's impossible to say what share SeeSaw represents with the new deal, but he notes the main advantage is that it adds deeper reach among key audience sectors that increase SeeSaw's ability to fulfill the needs of national marketers in different categories.

CBS Outernet's in-store reach, for example, brings deeper reach among so-called "alpha moms," a life stage planning segment that marketers seeking to reach such consumers can now access more effectively.

Bowen says he expects other big digital out-of-home networks to license the Powered by SeeSaw system, because it also is becoming more of a default system among advertisers and agencies.

"They are the perfect planning model for this medium," acknowledges David Matera, CEO of Digital Hive, an agency specializing in place-based video networks that was launched about a year ago. "If I'm looking to reach 18- to 34-year-old women, I can easily find every vendor that offers that audience."

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