Westinghouse, Adtek Pump Up Digital Out-Of-Home Network

Place-based video advertising is exploding. The newest expansion, planned by Westinghouse Digital Electronics and AdtekMedia, promises to deliver short-form video programming and ads to a huge captive audience: gas-station customers waiting at the pump. With a projected network size of 75,000 gas pumps, the companies say AdtekMedia's expanded PumpTop TV network will reach 100 million drivers a month.

This out-of-home model has several obvious advantages: the guaranteed proximity of the audience to the video display; the proximity of each display to the pump's digital sale counter; and the proximity of the video installations to a convenient point of sale for other products--the gas station. Plus, customers purchasing gas have some disposable income, and PumpTop touts the refueling period as a "natural dwell" or pause during the consumer's out-of-home day--downtime they use to make purchase decisions.

Both PumpTop crafts repurposed video content appropriate to the short duration of the customer's pump activity, pairing brief video ads with a two- to-three-minute clip of local or national news. PumpTop's content is delivered wirelessly to 19-inch wide-screen digital displays on both sides of each pump. Westinghouse will also be responsible for installing the digital infrastructure or "backbone"--presumably fiber-optic cable serving regional or neighborhood hubs. The company will also provide technological solutions to problems of display brightness in sunny and poorly lit conditions.



PumpTop TV aims to cover the top 60 U.S. markets, beginning with the expedited completion of Adtek's existing network in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Next up are San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. Completion of the nationwide network is planned for 2011.

One of PumpTop's competitors, Gas Station TV, a smaller operation that also repurposes content, launched in June 2006. In an interview at the time, David Leider, CEO of Gas Station TV, forecast that by spring 2007, the network would be "in the top 10 DMAs, for a total of 400 stations." Each station features an average of 12 video screen installations, for a total 4,800 gas pump displays.

Richard Houng, CEO of Westinghouse Digital Electronics, said: "Westinghouse Digital is very bullish on out-of-home digital media." And there's no question the medium is enjoying a boom of its own within the out-of-home category's general success.

Captivate Network, an industry leader founded in September 1997, has placed video screens in elevators in the nation's largest corporate office buildings. It now delivers video news and ad content to 2.2 million office workers a day via 7,300 wireless digital screens in over 700 buildings in the top 21 DMAs. Captivate plans to install screens in 400 more buildings.

Also in June 2006, New York's Duane Reade pharmacies got their own video network courtesy of the In-Store Broadcasting Network (IBN). Competitor Premiere Retail Networks has installed in-store video displays at thousands of "big box" stores for various clients, including Wal-Mart, Costco, Best Buy, Circuit City, ShopRite and Pathmark.

PRN's Wal-Mart network alone includes 3,150 stores, where it reaches 340 million shoppers a month. In 2006, PRN partnered with TV One, a lifestyle channel targeting African-Americans, for Wal-Mart's in-store video content. Finally, in 2005-2006 Transit TV installed a total of 8,000 screens on 3,500 municipal transit vehicles around the country.

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