Clear Channel Outdoor has announced a deal that will see 40" LCDs installed in 1000 UK pub and bar sites during 2008. The nationwide network, to be called 'Clear Channel Socialite' - will according to Rob Atkinson, Managing Director at Clear Channel Outdoor UK, 'be the first premium in-bar advertising screen network of high quality, portrait digital poster sites with the capability of streaming static, animated, full motion video and real-time content in pubs and bars.'Our take:
Clear Channel are working in partnership with pub game and IT specialist Inspired Gaming Group. Inspired, through its open server gaming platforms, already has a presence in more than 18,000 venues across the UK including major pub groups such as JD Wetherspoon, Mitchells & Butlers, Enterprise Inns and the Spirit Group.
Together they have identified more than 3,000 venues in conurbations with a population over 150,000 and will choose sites for installation by criteria such as: average footfall, location within a town, customer demographic, type of venue, average spend and revenue.
Digital signage networks in bars and clubs are of course nothing new, but the involvement of ClearChannel not as an advertising partner but as an actual network owner marks a new passage in both the company's involvement in the industry, as well as the very state of the industry itself. Of course, the other bit of news is the very size of the network -- 1,000 venues is typically an end size for most out-of-home advertising networks. For ClearChannel, it likely represents only the first stage of a potentially much larger deployment. Given their commanding presence in the US and increasingly large footprint in Europe, it's entirely possible that Clear Channel Socialite could soon be found in other countries and perhaps even other types of venues.