The suburban London, UK design studio Screen Kinetics has opened an online store where digital signage network operators can buy and download canned and editable template video content pieces for as little as $37 USD.
There are pre-made, finished messages that can go straight up on screens, and other ones that are designed to run as video backgrounds for networks using platforms that allow text overlays on video. The files I looked at were MP4s and 1080P resolution.
For the templates, the design details say:
Please note that all our core templates are delivered exactly as shown on the demonstration video. The template is a rendered video with specific zones for placement of text and images by end-users. It is only suitable for purchasers operating digital signage software that allows users to overlay text over video backgrounds. Our video templates also make an ideal choice for users who possess the video editing skills required to incorporate their content into rendered videos.
We are able to assist purchasers with incorporating text into the template, but this service is subject to a supplementary charge. If you would like to purchase this service in addition to the core template, please select the add-on option indicated in the pricing menu.
Says a press release about the service:
The company maintains that the development of their online store has stemmed from client feedback on the difficulties associated with creating engaging video marketing content for their displays. As a consequence, the store has been structured from the ground up to cater to the very specific communication needs that users of this technology often have.
The content developed by Screen Kinetics is designed to allow business to use their digital signage as a replacement for traditional printed signage. Innovations on offer include animated merchandise carousels for grocery stores, dynamic sale signs for retail storefronts and simulated neon for night time use.
Recognizing that businesses also need to combine ready-to-play videos with editable templates, the company has committed to offering both forms of motion graphics content in the store. In particular, they have developed a range of core video templates that are ideal for digital signage owners in the retail, food & beverage, hospitality and corporate sectors.
Regularly updated screen content is often the key to the success of any digital signage implementation. With affordably priced new content being released in the store on a regular basis, Screen Kinetics will certainly help small to medium-sized businesses truly harness the potential of their digital signage displays by lowering marketing costs in this area.
I had a tour around the online store and has mixed reactions. Some of it is, I think, very serviceable and appropriate for corporate and retail network. Other pieces – like a digital menuboard template (see right) – have way the hell too much text squeezed in, run too long, or suffer from cheap and cheesy visual trickery like the letters of a key message flying one by one into place. Just. Don’t. Ever.
I also think it would be nice to see versions in HTML5 instead of just video, as the former would allow for more flexible screens sizes and enable the template pieces to be updated dynamically, instead of being edited or using the CMS platform’s overlay functions. Often, I see companies starting with video, with plans to add that (which is fair and logical).
The initial and accumulated cost of content is a big deal in this industry, and some CMS platforms have, for years, offered free or incremental fee-based templates. Sometimes they are good. Often, they’re butt-ugly or boring.
It’s possible to buy motion graphic templates for very little cost and use them, but the user needs motion graphics software and skills.
I launched a service about three years ago – called Spotomate – that was all about high-quality, low-cost video templates. Maybe it was too early on the scene. But people just couldn’t get their heads around it, and the adoption rate was abysmal. I shut it down.
Another service, Visible Spectrum, has had templates for years, but it’s fair to suggest the company’s awareness level in this industry is still pretty low. It didn’t help that the creative director (at least the first one) must have been blind. A lot of the creative, at launch, was just plain awful. That said, the company is still out there, and I am sure they’ve learned things with time.
Another existing, very different template resource – Insteo.