Dubious Prediction #1: VUKUNET will let AV integrators make big money from DOOH advertising
Image credit: Valerie Everett
Dubious Prediction #2: Content will be a top priority
I disagree with a couple of the predictions made by industry veteran Keith Kelsen. But rather than pick apart his whole list (or focus on something too easy like the notion of 2010 as a "tipping point" year), I want to call attention to Keith's very first prediction -- that content strategies and discussions will "dominate the launch of new networks and the re-thinking of older networks." Oh, how I wish that would be true. There's no excuse for the poor content still running on so many networks today -- especially when there are so many digital signage content resources and repositories available. However, despite great conceptual gains, poor economic conditions have limited the adoption of new (and frequently labor-intensive) best practices this past year. While many people predict that 2010 will be better, the proof is in the proverbial pudding. Consequently, the focus this year will be the same as it has been in past years -- making money any way possible. Advertising networks will continue to sign up with multiple ad sales services (despite Ken Goldberg's excellent analysis of why that might be a bad idea), experimenting with different formats that allow them to sell inventory that advertisers might actually be willing to buy. Meanwhile, the vast majority of non-advertising-oriented display networks -- whether they be for corporate communications, trade promotion or other kinds of general messaging -- are run by people or groups that have many responsibilities, not just managing their digital signs. While that's certainly fine, these people are pressed for time and tend to be budget conscious, and most of them won't have the time or money to get trained or outsource production to digital signage experts. Consequently, I expect 2010 to be another year of slow, gradual evolution, not revolution, towards better content on digital signs.
Dubious Prediction #3: Retailers, brands and agencies will dedicate a lot more resources towards measuring the sales lift from digital signage spots
Matt Schmitt has just started posting Reflect Systems' top 10 predictions for 2010, but I'm already afraid that they're going to be far too optimistic about business conditions and the general state of readiness of retailers, brands and agencies. Will these groups pay more attention to digital signage than they have in past years? Yes, I think they pretty much have to. But that's mostly because they paid very little attention in the past -- so they can only improve! Now, many people who know me will readily call me a pessimist (I think I'm a realist, but I also know that's the classic pessimist's defense). But if you take a broad view of the business climate -- not just our little niche, but everybody that feeds into us -- there just isn't a lot of justification for the kind of massive spending that would make us top-of-mind for agencies, retailers and brands. Our part of the media mix is still too small to be interesting to most agencies, buyers and planners. It will take more than a year to change this. So once again, I expect a gradual evolution of their acceptance and understanding of us.
If you've made it through this article and all the pages it links to, and you still want to read more predictions, I highly recommend the list that Barnaby Page put together at SCREENS.tv. His points are concise, demonstrate a strong understanding of the global market, and, in my opinion, reflect reality. Of course, the folks I mentioned today aren't the only smart people in the industry, so I'd love to hear what our readers think.
Do you have any predictions about what we'll see in the digital signage market during 2010? Leave a comment and let us know.