All news, all the time?
November 3, 2006 by Dave Haynes
I have had a bunch of conversations in the last couple of weeks with clients and prospects about what they want to do with their signage program. Just about all of them wanted to put a news headline ticker on the screen, usually running across the bottom.
My typical response is to say, “Ok.” And then ask, “Why?”
Some don’t really know why. They’ve just seen other companies doing that and it is part of the mix. Others felt it was sticky content that will make people look at the screens — something they wouldn’t do if it was nothing but ads.
I spent 20 years in the newspaper and then online news business, so I know a bit about the subject. And I just don’t see much point in posting headlines on a screen in many of the places people want to put them. Between your computer desktop, TV, radio, and mobile gadgets, there’s no shortage of ways to get news these days. It’s everywhere.
It has a role for ad-based networks that have captive audiences for extended periods, like airports and other environments where people wait and wait, and are bored silly.
It does not have a role, at all, for network operators who have a few precious seconds to hit consumers with marketing messages … and they spend those seconds catching up on the latest news from the Middle East instead of even noticing the ad.
If you carve up a screen and have something other than straight marketing messages, at least make the content engaging and new. Direct experience and expensive research has taught me people respond better to soft content like trivia and word puzzles than conventional, rolling news.
If you still insist on news, make sure it is timely and directly relevant to the audience and environment. Better yet, get it sponsored.