Once a year, we publish an article about estimating the cost of a digital signage project. These articles have been a big hit since we first started them waaaaay back in 2004, and the most recent iterations have sparked quite a discussion in the comments as well. While the initial focus of the series was on infrastructure costs like hardware, software and installation, we've added in estimates for content creation, staffing, and all of the other things that go along with implementing and maintaining a signage network. We've also seen more established research companies get in on the action with their own estimates, and at times even marveled at how closely our own findings mirrored theirs. While our 2009 pricing estimate is still a few months away, I realized that the way we produce our estimates is rather vendor-centric: we go out and get estimates, talk to existing network owners, talk to partners and vendors, and put together a number. But today I want to turn that concept on its head by asking -- instead of telling -- what a digital signage network should cost.

So, what's it worth to ya?

That's the crux of the matter. I want to know what you think each of the parts of a digital signage network ought to cost, regardless of what your vendors and integrators might tell you. And if you're a vendor or integrator, I'd like to know what you believe all of these bits and pieces should cost. I put together a very simple survey below, which you should be able to breeze through in no more than three minutes. As with our last survey, if you provide your email address on the survey form, I'll send you all of the data once the survey closes. (Don't worry, I won't use your email for anything else.) The kind folks who provided their email addresses last time received a PDF with 13 pages of graphs and free-form responses, which hopefully you found as interesting and thought-provoking as I did.

Who should fill out this survey?

Short answer: anyone who reads this blog. Long answer: you, your coworkers, your clients, and your friends! In fact, feel free to pass along this article to anyone you think might be interested. I'll give you three reasons why it's worth your while: First, a demand-driven pricing estimate is a great way to check the accuracy of all of the supply-driven pricing estimates out there. Second, it's easier than voting with your wallet: by choosing the fair-value price for each item, you get to (anonymously) tell everybody who receives the survey data what's on your mind. And third, seriously, it's going to take less than three minutes. Two if you're really quick. Go ahead and take it now!

This poll will run through the end of August, and we're planning to publish a blog article with the results and analysis in September or October. But if you leave your email address in the survey form, I'll email you the results as soon as they're ready. And if you missed our last survey, feel free to read up on our findings here: Digital Signage Market Faces ROI, Cooperation Challenges.

We're always on the lookout for new topics to cover in future surveys and blog articles. Got any you'd like to share? Leave a comment below and let us know!


+1 # Liliana Ferrari 2009-08-12 17:55
Some customers (mostly malls) want digital signage but do not want to invest or commercialize. They ask us to pay for the investment and sell the commercial spots in our screens and pay the mall a proportion of our sales. Do you have an idea of what is a regular proportion that we should pay the malls? Maybe we could also check what the rest of the DS Market has to say about this type of costs. thanks
0 # Beppe Andrian 2009-08-12 18:14
I'm fully agree with Liliana's comment. These rich people built fantastic commercial space but they don't take care about the traffic store they generates and the possibile revenue. It's creazy they don't look at this part during the designing part of the Mall or Ipermarkets. Another not visibile but always present cost is the Pilot.. if possibile we tray always to convince customer to bypass pilot phase but sometimes that's not possibile and Pilot cost and timing could be a real dramas for some companies (also very big companies..) Compliments for the survey idea I think the result could be very very interesting for the DS community. Thanks! Beppe
+1 # Bill Gerba 2009-08-13 16:37
Hi Liliana, The percentage varies a lot from deal to deal, but it is generally lower when the venue assumes zero risk -- and that sounds like the case in your situation if they don't want to contribute ANY money to the project. I think asking the audience about what their expected contribution is in a future survey is a great idea, though. Hi Beppe, Be careful what you wish for! Skipping the pilot phase is a great way to go out of business very quickly, since bugs and problems during an inexpensive pilot are a lot cheaper to fix than during a large, complex rollout.

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