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Out-of-Home, Place-Based and Retail Digital Media Networks

How networked displays are appearing in diverse public venues - and even finding their way onto moving vehicles

Digital signage display

Digital media networks are used to deliver promotions or informational content to viewers in a diverse set of venues. Like other forms of out-of-home and place-based media, these displays function much like traditional billboards, POP displays, and transit advertising. In brief, the digital media network uses a series of small or large displays to attract the attention of consumers outside the home. Popular examples include targeting people who are waiting for service at a restaurant or healthcare facility (see captive audience networks) or browsing in a retail store (see in-store TV networks). Some emerging forms of this medium also include displays placed on top of (or inside) taxicabs, buses, and subway cars.

Depending on the application and venue, a place-based media network may either utilize kiosk-like devices (e.g. touchscreen shelf-edge displays allowing you to print a coupon for an advertised product) or may instead be purely broadcast or narrowcast-oriented (delivering the message without any user feedback loop). In more progressive cases, the network contains a mixture of both interactive and non-interactive screens, using each display to reinforce the overall message and call-to-action.

The hardware used for out-of-home media networks can vary quite widely. For instance, a retail network might use standard plasma displays mounted to the endcaps, coupled with small LCD shelf-edge displays. In contrast, systems mounted on top of a taxicab would need a daylight-readable screen and weather-resistant enclosure, perhaps connected to a media player in the taxi's trunk.

These articles discuss some of the popular venues for place-based media networks, along with optimal content strategies and measurement considerations: