Barnes & Noble College Booksellers is joining forces with Scentsa Media Networks to create a new digital signage network comprising 1,000 screens in over 400 out of B&N's total 624 college bookstores. The B&N College Bookstore Media Network will provide advertisers with opportunities to reach college students near the point of purchase with live, high-definition media streams showing content tailored for the college audience, including videos, news briefs, sports, local weather, and university updates.
The new B&N College Bookstore Media Network will include displays at some of the nation's biggest campuses, including Harvard University, Northwestern University, Texas A&M, Ohio State University, Penn State University, University of Central Florida and Yale University. Overall in 2008 B&N's College Bookstores served about four million college students and 250,000 faculty members, including 550,000 incoming college freshmen.
Of course, B&N isn't the only company targeting college students with digital out-of-home video. Over the last few years, Akoo, which operates an interactive, digital out-of-home video network reaching college dining halls and mall food courts with "social TV," has expanded to a number of new college campuses across the U.S. -- including some of the nation's largest schools. The social TV network, which allows viewers to choose from music videos and other entertainment content, is now operating in dining halls at Ohio State University; the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of North Florida; Tennessee Tech University; California State University, Stanislaus; Lindenwood University; Austin Peay State University; Morehead State University; the University of Pittsburgh; and California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Meanwhile MTVu, MTV's 24-hour college network, reaches an audience of approximately 9 million college students ages 18-24 in college dorm rooms and public areas including dining halls and gyms at 750 campuses nationwide. In July 2010 RMG Networks became the exclusive digital out-of-home sales representative for MTVu.
There's no question college students are a desirable audience, if advertisers can just figure out how to reach them. College students spend an average $667 per year on course materials alone, along with an average $221 per month in discretionary spending. Altogether U.S. college students wielded about $306 billion in spending power in 2010, according to Alloy Media + Marketing, with discretionary spending accounting for $69 billion of this, including an estimated $12.8 billion on consumer electronics; $11 billion on snacks and beverages; $5.5 billion on alcohol; $5 billion on clothes; $4 billion on personal care products; and $3 billion on movies and entertainment.