I met Peter Bowen last year at the digital retailing show in Chicago, when he was starting to build awareness for SeeSaw Networks – essentially a sales rep shop specializing in peddling time on screen media networks.
Industry people have been talking forever about rolling up as many networks as possible into one media sales offer, but there hasn’t been much sign of success. The networks are too divergent and, as usual, it takes a lot of money to get it right.
But SeeSaw is starting to get some traction, with six sizeable affiliate networks in its portfolio: Captive Media, Ecast, DVD Play, MJM Sports and Media, The University Network and Zilo. I’ve only ever heard of Captive Media, but a little rooting around revealed Zilo does in-dorm campus TV and MJM is a fantasy sports play in bars and clubs.
With some 700 sign networks just in the US, there’s a long way to go still. SeeSaw is unveiling an online media placement system this week in Las Vegas that should help draw in more networks, and if things work out, also draw in media planners. The attraction to network operators is that they can make available their unsold slots to this group, who will then try to fill them – presumably at a reduced rate.
AdWeek is reporting: “This week at the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ annual media conference in Las Vegas, SeeSaw will launch SeeSawads.com, an online platform through which advertisers can customize digital buys by demographic, geography or venue. “
“We give buyers one point of contact, one bill. It’s an easy way for agencies to wrap their arms around a space that’s becoming more complicated,” said SeeSaw CEO Peter Bowen. “Our network can deliver over 20 million gross impressions weekly, on par with some top-rated TV shows, at significantly less cost.”
You can click around a Flash demo on the SeeSaw site to see how it all works. It looks like pretty basic stuff and leaves a lot of questions about how this thing will actually work with other networks. My guess is the actual scheduling is manual, with SeeSaw generating an insertion order for its affiliates to execute.
That said, ANYTHING that reduces the noise for media planners and creates some order where there is little, will be welcomed by the ad industry.
This is the first system of its kind, to my knowledge, but I know at least one startup company that’s about to ramp up its own solution. More on them when they are ready to go talk. Suffice to say, similar, but in some respects very different.
NOTE: Read the comments for SeeSaw founder Jeff Dickey’s point of view, and his clarification of what they’re all about.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.