At DSE a year ago RMG Networks and DirecTV launched Message Board, a small business product aimed at adding entry-level reverse L marketing messages on TV screens in places like bars.
There was a big dinner at a very nice restaurant in the City Center with very nice wine (which I missed because of the dumb-stupid Preset Mixer!!!), a big booth on the DSE floor, and sales staff that were getting trained.
By summer, Message Board was scrubbed from the DirecTV site.
The core technology that was delivering the local business marketing messages was developed by RMG‘s China-based software team (the guys who did Danoo), and in the wake of DirecTV pulling out, RMG has repackaged the service as ChalkboxTV. It was launched last week at DSE and goes live in April.
ChalkboxTV is a digital signage service that empowers businesses to deliver marketing messages through existing on-premise television screens. ChalkboxTV provides small- and medium-sized businesses with a powerful low-cost solution for creating and delivering relevant, localized marketing executions to activate customers in-store.
ChalkboxTV is an ideal point-of-sale marketing solution that businesses can use to promote their offerings and inform customers about promotions and other offers. ChalkboxTV seamlessly integrates with any cable or satellite service so business owners can deliver venue-specific marketing messages using their existing in-store televisions. Running alongside live television programming, marketing executions appear as an L-shaped frame, and may be fully customized or easily created from a selection of templates provided with the service. Full-screen signage executions are also available within ChalkboxTV.
The service consists of a media player connected to cloud-based software that enables single- or multi-unit businesses to display synchronized custom marketing messages on an existing television screen. ChalkboxTV is compatible with any cable or satellite service, so no service changes are required to deploy the system. Multiple locations can be controlled from a single interface, including custom content scheduling and playlists, so that any business can benefit from in-store digital signage.
“The introduction of ChalkboxTV shows RMG’s commitment to developing technology that connects marketers with their customers when they are most receptive to messaging,” said Garry McGuire, Chief Executive Officer, RMG Networks. “ChalkboxTV is revolutionary because it places the power of digital place-based signage technology within reach of any business. Since there is no need to invest in new equipment or switch services, it’s painless for a business of any size to start delivering highly targeted marketing messages to their customers while they are on site and engaged with their brand.”
RMG is in this weird netherworld of a merger/transaction that makes saying much about business decisions dodgy, including this one. The short story, however, is that getting in a bunfight with Viacom last summer was instructive for DirecTV, and those guys evidently decided they didn’t need any further disputes – like whether squeezing signals in commercial environments bothered content producers like Viacom.
So RMG is going it alone, using a proprietary box that sits between the source (ie cable box) and the TV. It will be sold, box included, as a subscription service.