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Digital Signage Cost Estimates and Price Guidelines

Author: Bill Gerba on 2008-11-13 14:43:49

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About once a year, we try to figure out what it actually costs to build a digital signage network. Based on feedback from our customers and website visitors, these studies have grown to include not only the obvious things like hardware, software, and installation, but also the "softer" costs like content creation and staffing. You can find our latest cost estimates and all the historical ones below.

Most current cost estimate:

The 2011 Digital Signage Pricing Study: Costs Fall Another 5.6%

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WireSpring has used the accumulated data from our pricing studies to build a web-based estimate generator. Simply click on the image below to launch the app:



Older cost estimates:

Comprehensive industry pricing reports:

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Comments (22)

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2008-11-16farid zaky writes:
need to under stand know how of digital signage, all compatitor in the world, content of this system & budget figure of the system.
2008-11-18Sumit Tayal writes:
Pricing of digital signage software can vary according to its features.
2008-12-02Bill Gerba writes:
Of course the price really depends on what you want to do with it -- if you have only a few locations and want to show a simple slide show, you could get by with a $100 digital photo frame and manually changing out the memory cards periodically.

Our numbers are composite figures based on medium-large (100 player) networks, which typically have more similarities than differences with each other with regard to features, etc.
2009-01-01David Smith writes:
Looking for digital sign to put up and rent on major hiway near Houston Texas. Can you tell me how big and approximate costs. I am on a very limited budget.
2009-01-08Bill Gerba writes:
Hi David,

Do you mean an outdoor electronic billboard? Those things are pretty expensive -- you can count on something big enough to be seen from a highway costing several hundred thousand dollars. The cost of ancillary equipment like media players won't even figure in compared to that big cost.
2009-06-13ODERINDE BOLA,jr. writes:
I am sending this in from Lagos, Nigeria.I have been reading from your writings for about 4 months now. I am so happy someone could help the rest of us to understand the digital signage concept clearly.
2009-09-04IMAM A.BOLAJI writes:
It's nice knowing 9ja reads Bill's blog. I've been on it more than 3 years my dear. I'm happy it's been okay for me and others. Nice knowing you there BOLA
2009-09-06Bill Gerba writes:
Thanks all for the kind words. And stay tuned for this year's "digital signage budget" post, due out some time in the next month or two!
2009-11-29Eddie writes:
what do you think it'll cost to have 25 in-store TVs with various TV channels for different purposes in one store? Do i actually need to look into buying bandwidth from a firm or what?
2009-12-03Kirsty Bailey writes:
Hi there Bill,

Hope you can help me with a few questions.

We are currently trialling digital signage in 11 stores. A Business Case is being put together, for rolling out digital signage across 300 stores (approximately 2-3 screens per store).

To assist with the decision making process, there are a few questions that have been raised. I hope you can help me or point me in the right direction.

1. Costs – where is Digital Signage on the cost curve? Is it still holding? Economical to purchase digital signage 'equipment'?

2. What is happening with costs? (I know you've addressed this in the pricing report) - in terms of screens, software and content. Would you imagine the trend will continue in terms of costs coming down?

3. How are business's managing their costs? Where are they finding their biggest savings?

4.Which operating model are businesses finding is best? Outsourcing vs In-house?

5. Best model for ROI?

5. How are businesses using Digital Signage?

6. Any notable trends appearing with Digital Signage in the USA? UK?


I know there are number of questions, but I do hope you can provide me with some assistance/guidance on these matters.

Many thanks,

Kirsty
2009-12-11Bill Gerba writes:
Hi Kirsty,

Wow, that's a lot of questions! I'll answer what I can.

1. Where is Digital Signage on the cost curve?

Pricing continues to fall as key components like screens and media players get commoditized and subsidized by other industries (e.g. consumer electronics). Costs are about 50% less than what they were 5 years ago, so we've probably seen the biggest drops already. Look for more modest reductions in the future, in addition to new form factors and capabilities.


2. What is happening with costs? (I know you've addressed this in the pricing report) - in terms of screens, software and content. I expect a few more years of low double-digit reductions.

Screens will continue to fall driven by consumer (e.g. non-business) demand mostly. Software is being partly commoditized and faces a hyper-competitive market landscape, which continues to push down prices. Expect mid- to high-single digit reductions each year over the next few years.

Content creation fees are leveling off if you're looking to get your content produced in-country. If you're willing to outsource to a low-wage country like India, China or places in SE Asia, you can get considerable savings, but of course there are downsides to that approach. And, new content aggregation and clipping services make it easy and inexpensive to get off-the-shelf content onto your screens, so that has compelled prices to fall recently. I expect this trend to hold. Look for modest single-digit reductions in content creation/acquisition prices in the next few years.

3. How are business's managing their costs? Where are they finding their biggest savings?

Financing eats up a large amount of income for many operators, so a good financing deal is essential, and the best place to start looking for cost reductions if you have good credit and a strong operating history (or have other sources of capital available). After that, outsourcing of non-core services like IT are popular. On the other hand, those operators who wind up making/modifying a good deal of content have been bringing those services in house by hiring a few content-savvy staff.

4.Which operating model are businesses finding is best? Outsourcing vs In-house?

According to our most recent report on the subject, almost everybody is in-housing everything right now. I don't know if it's because of an aversion to spending up-front, or because people just like to have more direct reports.

5. Best model for ROI?

No such thing. There are many, many models that work well depending on the operator's situation. However, as we always recommend, make sure your host venues have a stake in the game (so that their interests are aligned with your own), and of course, if you've never sold advertising before, don't start an ad-driven network until you've hired some real experts and forged key partnerships with groups that can help your sales game.

5. How are businesses using Digital Signage?

Advertising, merchandising, corporate communications, employee education, safety information display, public awareness display, hospitality, wayfinding... there are a lot of ways!

6. Any notable trends appearing with Digital Signage in the USA? UK?

It continues to grow despite the crappy economy, so that's a good sign in my book. We continue to see growth on the low end, with networks in the 5-25 screen/venue range, but even toward the end of this year the number of large network projects on our radar has increased substantially.
2010-08-02Bob derosso writes:
Hi Bill,

I wanted to see if you could give me an idea of what to charge for creating content for stores in my area. I would be using Photoshop cs5 and Motion 4 by Apple. They would be very high quality slides and would be personalized for the store of course. If I could get some type of ballpark (probably 10 slides in total) and we would give them the choice of it being on a cf card or we could monitor it directly it from our computer. They would buy the screen and also have it installed.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Bob
2011-01-23Sanjay Chitale writes:
hi Bill,

How is revenue shared with the location owners ? or is it the rent that you pay the location for hosting the LCD screen. Will appreciate your guidence.

Best
Sanjay
2011-02-03FBJ writes:
Hi Bill,
I am new to this. Here's my plan.
Secure locations for screens. (only five small town) Offer them free ad on other screens for spot in their business (none of their direct competitions on their screens). This by contract for 2 years.

After locations secured (Restaurants, Barber Shops, Automotive Waiting area, Hair salon, Doctors Office). Then approach local businesses, about 10 second spots on the slideshow for rollout.
I will be using stand alone LCD Screens with usb.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated,
FBJ
2011-02-03FBJ writes:
Hi Bill,
I am new to this. Here's my plan.
Secure locations for screens. (only five small town) Offer them free ad on other screens for spot in their business (none of their direct competitions on their screens). This by contract for 2 years.

After locations secured (Restaurants, Barber Shops, Automotive Waiting area, Hair salon, Doctors Office). Then approach local businesses, about 10 second spots on the slideshow for rollout.
I will be using stand alone LCD Screens with usb.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated,
FBJ
2011-07-31simin writes:
hi
how can I see the list of signage cost in a diffrent brand
tnx
2011-10-04Linda Riggins writes:
I am interested in looking into an electronic sign for my church. It will be used in place of an outreach sign. It's located right on the hwy so it doesn't have to be super large but large enough to read by passerby's.What would a sign like that cost? We are a small church and will try to raise money for the sign. I will need to be able to change it on a regular basis electronically. Can you help??
Thank you,
Linda
2012-02-21Bill Gerba writes:
Bob: Pricing of content for digital signage is going to be like pricing for any other kind of content. Most designers do it based on an hourly/project basis, with hourly fees varying wildly from $15 to $75 or more. For those preferring to take the packaged approach, they'll have to compete with providers like Screenfeed (http://screenfeed.com/pricing) and others who are trying to scale up to very large numbers of "licenses" for their content.

Sanjay: Revenue share can vary from literally nothing to as much as 75% (I can think of one "big" deal that hit that number). The amount really depends on how valuable the real estate is and how much you think you can sell advertising for. Also, venues that actually contribute some amount of money to the capital expenditure are usually entitled to a larger cut of profits since they are taking more risk than just providing real estate.

FBJ: That is going to be a very difficult model to monetize unless you already have relationships in place with the companies that will be advertising with you. My advice would be to try and pre-sign advertisers before spending too much money building out infrastructure.

simin: The cost estimates are based on industry averages built from surveys and various data models. We would be happy to quote you for our own software. Obviously you'll have to go to the other guys to get bona fide quotes from them :)

Linda: Check out simpledigitalsignage.com, the website for our FireCast EasyStart product. It sounds like exactly what you need, and costs around $1,500.
2012-10-31Ron writes:
Bill,
I have been reading through your support comments and I have a question for you. I am looking to set up a digital signage network first in a mid-size colledge town with a pretty good size colledge. Secondly a couple of companies where I feel a signage network would be valuable. A major part of my plan is the need for a Content Aggregator for the larger ads like CocaCola, PnG, Nike or whomever. I do believe I will have local advertising as well, but I see value in providing my demographics to a Content Aggregator for these bigger advertisements. Does this type of Aggregator exists and how do I engage them?
Thanks, Ron
2012-11-01Bill Gerba writes:
Hi Ron,

To be blunt, you can't. National advertisers will have no interest in your network, regardless how good your coverage of your audience is, because the audience size is too small and you only serve a portion of a single DMA (assuming you're in a location that is even part of a significant DMA).

Likewise, there are still a few DOOG ad aggregation companies around that will add your screen inventory to a "master list" to dangle in front of national advertisers, but most have gone out of business just this past year, due to lack of interest on the advertisers' parts.

From a practical standpoint, I would see if your model will work using only local or regional advertisers.

Sorry to be harsh, but I'd far rather you re-examine your model and decide not to go forward than to have you put it all out there with the expectation that you'll get national ad dollars, and then fail a few months later for lack of finding any.

Best,

Bill
2012-12-26sid writes:
what is the investment 2 start a DOOH? outdoor advt screens....?
2013-11-26Tumelo Chiloane writes:
Hi Bill

I am in the planing process of implementing the installation of a digital signage network on campus buses and i am facing a few challenges with determining my CPM or what to charge to an advertiser.

I am looking at a start-up of 15 buses on a route that carries a minimum of 1000 commuters per day, with 15hours on the road per day and a start cost of R10 000 per bus(South Africa) per month. I am new in this business and i want to know what my impressions are and how much i can charge per mile

Any guidelines as to how I can determine my CPM would be appreciated

Tumelo

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