Two become one as Outcast
October 2, 2008 by Dave Haynes
OK, hands up everybody who has heard of a company called Bhootan.
I like the name and the new website is nice, clean and cool. So good start.
As is noted in the story, this is another sign of the consolidation that will be going on across this industry, as companies blend operations to cut costs and bulk up the overall installed footprint they can sell.
It would make more sense if the various gas pump topper companies were joining forces, but time and circumstances don’t often allow for that. In this case, it is 5,500 screens in the US and Canada at gas stations combined with about 500 screens from Bhootan sprinkled across a slightly odd mix of venues like Sears, Kmart, Walgreens and some groceries, c-stores and burger chains.
Bringing some much-needed consolidation to the fragmented digital out of home industry, Fuelcast, a digital network at the gas pump and Bhootan, a digital network at retail locations, have merged to form Outcast. Terms of the deal, announced Thursday, Oct. 2, were not disclosed.
Outcast offers advertisers digital out-of-home networks across a variety of venues: Fuelcast’s 5,500 screens at gas pumps in 8 U.S. markets plus Toronto, Canada; Bhootan’s 500 screens at retailers such as Walgreens, Sears, Kmart, Albertsons, Stop N’ Shop and fast food
establishments including Carl’s Jr.; and McDonald’s. While there are more Fuelcast screens, Bhootan offers advertisers more markets.
Combined, Outcast’s networks offer advertisers a monthly reach of over 25 million consumers in more than 900 locations.
Digital out-of-home is growing at a double digit rate, but because its a highly fragmented business with hundreds of companies, buying advertising can add up to a major migraine.
Matthew Stoudt, the co-founder and CEO of Bhootan who will become CEO of Outcast, said the merger was formed to make buying digital out-of-home easier. “Our advertisers were looking to work with larger companies that offer a more expansive network and broader reach,”
Stoudt said. “Hopefully, we’re starting some consolidation in the marketplace.”
In addition to Stoudt, Outcast’s top management will also include John McLean, CEO of Fuelcast, as chairman and Nathan Gill, co-founder and president of Bhootan, as chief media officer.
Chief Media Officer!!! That’s a new one to me.
UPDATE — I poked around Linked In and found at least a half-dozen Bhootan folks, with a variety of roles. The company dates back at least two-plus years, but have kept a pretty low profile, it seems.