CBS Thinks 'Outer' The Box, Acquires SignStorey, Launches Outernet
The deal comes as the out-of-home television marketplace is undergoing explosive growth, both in terms of the number of players fielding ad-supported video services, as well as the variety and types of locations they are launching in: everywhere from gas stations and convenience stores to elevators and public restrooms.
The market currently is dominated by cinema advertising networks like ScreenVision's and National CineMedia's networks, but big retail-focused distributors like SignStorey and rivals Premiere Retail Network (PRN) and In-Store Broadcasting (IBN) have established critical mass reach in retail markets nationwide, especially in the all-important supermarket and grocery business for big packaged goods marketers.
To capitalize on the explosive market, and to help market it and set standards and guidelines for managing its growth on Madison Avenue, the fledging industry recently formed the Out-of-home Video Advertising Bureau, or OVAB, which is modeled on the success of the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Currently, SignStorey claims video displays in more than 1,400 grocery stores in major markets across the U.S., including long-term exclusive contracts with SuperValu (Acme, Albertsons, Jewel and Shaw's), Pathmark, ShopRite and Price Chopper.
SignStorey currently boasts traffic of more than 72 million consumers every month, and says its revenues more than doubled year-over-year in 2006 with major advertising deals from marketers such as Johnson & Johnson, Colgate, General Mills, and Dannon.
The acquisition by CBS makes sense for several reasons. First, the companies already had a long-term preexisting programming and cross-promotional relationship. CBS has been a major provider of content to the SignStorey network, and has received promotional time on the SignStorey network in exchange.
The move also marks the first time a major television network company has owned a place-based media network since NBC folded its ambitious and ill-fated NBC On-Site venture back in the early 1990s. Recently, NBC struck an alliance with PRN to begin distributing NBC programming and promotions.