Captivate bridges content offer to desktop

July 18, 2008 by Dave Haynes

The guys at Captivate have been manually generating content for their network of more than 8,000 elevator screens for the past decade or so.

While damn near every network out there automates feeds from news organizations like Reuters, CP and AP, Captivate has actual newsrooms in the Boston suburbs and in Toronto who every day go through various news wires and content partner sites and then write their own hand-crafted headlines.

It’s expensive, and when I was there, I was banging the drum to start automating this stuff. But the guys have stuck with it and what they end up with are headlines that are complete thoughts and suited to the audience. A ton of crap that comes across unfiltered, automated feeds gets tossed, whereas on most networks, it just runs.

So I found it interesting to read that Captivate is now using its team of editors to start bridging the gap between the elevator screens and the Web, by having their guys write blogs.

My first reaction was, “Oh Lord, more blogs.”But what I found was actually pretty good.

Reads MediaWeek: The idea for the blogs that cover topics like books (Captivate Book Break), movies (Movies: People Tell Me I Look Like Han Solo) and wine (The Quaffer), actually came from the daily riders in Captivate elevators who take an average of six one-minute trips a day. Many would search the Internet for the Captivate Web site, a business-to-business site which at the time had no consumer content, to ask about items they saw on their vertical commute.

“Over time, you’ll see our Web site evolve to a consumer-oriented site to provide the rest of the story,” said Mike DiFranza, president and general manager of Captivate, in a MediaWeek interview. “Nearly 50 percent of our viewers identify Captivate as their primary news source. People are time pressed and catch information on the fly and when they want to dive deeply, they go to the Internet.”

The article suggests this is Captivate’s first move into becoming a content company and a multimedia brand. That seems like a bit of a reach, but they are to be applauded for innovating in an industry that doesn’t see much of that, yet, when it comes to content.

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