16:9 Podcasts: UPshow’s Matt Gibbs On Successfully Bringing Social TV To Life In Restaurants


A whole bunch of startups have through the years, tried to crack the restaurant and bar business with a digital out of home advertising model that saw them put in screens and media players, hoping to claw back the costs, and more, through advertising.

And a whole bunch of them – most of them, in fact, have failed. Advertising is hard.

So I was intrigued by a three-year-old Chicago company called UPshow that is doing user-generated content and digital signage in bars, and making a go of it on a subscription basis – with no third-party advertising. At least for now.

The bar owners – from small ones all the way up to chains like TGI Fridays and Hooters – actually pay money month to month for the service. The owner/operators like that UPshow’s content is fresh, and human moderated, and that customers are engaged. They also like that it is selling more drinks and specials, and generating return business.

I spoke with Matt Gibbs, the company’s CMO, and one of its co-founders.

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Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes

@sixteennine

12+ year-old blog and podcast about digital signage & related tech, written by industry consultant, analyst & bullshit filter Dave Haynes.
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2 Comments

  • Greg says:

    Hi Dave, good listen. I see the UpShow screens around at bars occasionally and have wondered about what exactly their business model is.

    More general question: why do you think it is that the advertising-supported DOOH model is so hard in bars and restaurants? Captivate, et al, have managed to pull it off in other venues, so I’m curious what it is about bars specifically that makes it such a hard sell.

    Thanks!

    • Dave Haynes says:

      Captivate and the health networks, which have been successful, address very different markets. Business professional in work environments, or people thinking specifically about medicines and treatments when they are in clinic waiting rooms. Bars have a ton of distractions, including other screens with games on, and other than booze, the advertising tends to be pretty broad (as in whoever can get booked). As a media planner I am not sure I would want to be marketing to people when they are tipsy, or on their way to that state. It’s not an impossible environment for OOH, but tougher. Touchtunes has 10s of 1000s of screens, but that company is already in there making money off their jukebox selections.

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