Well, as I type this the Dow is having another rollercoaster day, mostly heading down, and the sounds you hear in the distance are brokers screaming about the fate of their weekend getaways in the Hamptons.
As this is happening, again, outdoor giant Titan Worldwide (and if you are going to be called outdoor giant, is Titan not a great name?) is announcing plans to spend $90 million over the next three years on digital screen initiatives.
By the end of 2008, brand new breeds of digital signs will start to change the way brands advertise to consumers and how consumers respond to advertising in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland. Starting in the key U.S. markets and London (with Ireland and Canada to follow soon) Titan Worldwide will rollout digital signs across its bus, rail and subway portfolio.
With a $90 million investment in digital signage over the next 36 months added to their existing static inventory, Titan’s ambition is to have one of the most seen, flexible and relevant advertising networks in the world.
Titan’s digital rollout is predominantly based around transit hubs that benefit from big dwell times and large, captive business audiences making Titan’s media perfect for digital expansion. The company is in the process of testing all their new digital products across their markets.
Titan’s new digital additions to their network will include:
Bus Digital Kings — King size 12-foot displays that use the latest LED and GPS technology. These signs are bright and unavoidable and will enable advertisers to target mass audiences by time of day, block, zip-code, demography and ethnicity. Extensive trials of the display are already underway in Chicago with a launch rollout date of late 2008.
Platform Displays — Located on platforms across Titan’s rail portfolio, these large HD screens will form one the largest pieces of Titan’s digital rollout with over 1,200 planned in Chicago alone. These screens will offer consumers engaging content and relevant advertising and will also allow the Transit Authorities to reach their commuters instantly, en masse, in ways it never could before. Titan and its content partners will provide editorial content such as news, sport, weather and entertainment.
Interior Rail Displays — Titan will also offer large commuting audiences the opportunity to be engaged and entertained within the trains with large HD, GPS-enabled displays. Making the most of the huge commuter dwell time, the screen will also bring advertisers closer to this captive audience by their proximity to the editorial content and the relevance of time and location-adaptable creative.
Urban Panels — Titan’s street-level subway displays in Chicago will be digitized in early 2009. With HD screens on both sides of the display, they will reach millions of consumers with maximum impact, allowing advertisers to change and adapt their creative by time of day.
U.K. Rail 6 sheets — Titan has recently rolled out over 100 digital D6’s (6 ft x 4 ft) in some of London’s busiest rail locations. Titan trail blazed digital Out-of-Home technology in the U.K. with Transvision, a network of 18 screens in 17 of the country’s busiest rail terminals. It also has large scale roadside digital inventory in London and in Toronto.
“We have already made significant commitment to digital technology and our transit partners and advertisers have been very enthusiastic about our plans,” said Donald Allman, President, Titan Worldwide. “It is also exciting to offer advertisers the opportunity to reach consumers in ways they never thought they could.”
“Our digital initiative offers numerous additional benefits to transit agencies and the commuters they serve — including modernized and more visually appealing advertising and entertainment displays; at the same time providing timely information to ease commuting and improve public safety during crisis situations,” said Mr. Allman.
The Titan initiative is being run by Lou Giacalone, Jr., whoi has been with Titan since early 2007, having come from Adspace, which he co-founded.
Obviously,a big announcement and a good shot in the arm for the overall industry. Outdoor is a particularly interesting sector because the players are already well-established, and have a large, distributed footrpint. The migration to digital is natural for them if they can tumble the numbers and show they can make more money through multiple ads on one face, better target ads, and reduce printing and servicing costs.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 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, on Canada’s east coast.