Do people want to watch TV out of home?

Turner Broadcasting and IndoorDIRECT have worked a content deal that will see the broadcaster’s broad portfolio of content available to run in some fashion on DOOH screens installed in some of the bigger quick-service and fast casual restaurant chains in the U.S., including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

Reports Adweek:

The deal underscores the importance of growing channels like OOH nets as media companies and advertisers try to keep up with consumers in the increasingly fragmented landscape.

Both sides say the deal is unique. According to Holly Wasson, vp, asset management at Turner Media Group, it’s the first time the company has completed a license deal with a single OOH provider that covers its entire portfolio of networks. Given IndoorDirect’s digital capabilities, Wasson said, Turner will be able to supply content that will vary by day and time period on the IndoorDirect Network. For example, Cartoon Network will supply programming on Saturdays and after school, while CNN will feed material at the dinner hour. And (Conan) O’Brien, of course, will be seen later in the evening.

“We can put the right content, and promotional messages, in front of the right audiences,” she said.

The Turner deal signals a program strategy shift for the OOH network, according to Steven Justman, president, entertainment, marketing and sales at IndoorDirect. Until now, he said, the network has done deals with dozens of content providers, including ones with various sports leagues, music labels and networks such as NBC, CBS and ABC. But none of those deals has covered entire program portfolios, like the Turner pact does. “We’re moving toward a strategy of fewer, bigger, better partnerships,” he said. “Turner being the first.”

IndoorDirect has a monthly reach of more than 15 million diners, per Nielsen. Over 1,100 restaurants are in the network, and that number is expected to double over the next year, per Justman. More than 50 national advertisers currently buy time on the network.

I’ve not seen an Indoor Direct screen as the company requires electricity, and Canada is not scheduled to get that for another couple of years (that and IndoorDIRECT just isn’t up here). So I can’t comment on the content mix now, or this new stuff.

I have, and have always had, big qualms about “shovelware” material that gets pulled from one medium and slapped into another that has a totally different audience and viewing dynamic. What works in the home doesn’t necessarily work in a food court.

But the two parties are saying some good things about using programming that’s relevant to the time of day. I don’t know that people are any more interested in Wolf Blitzer’s news at dinner than another time of day, but I suppose testing will prove that out.

The larger question is whether broadcast TV – unless it gets some great editing and careful thought from editors who understand the audience and venue – works well (or at all) in these kinds of places. There are countless examples to suggest shoveling TV into out of home does not.

It would be great if DOOH was a medium with unique, purpose-created content, but those costs would be crippling. So pulling from other TV and other mediums is going to be part of the deal for a while.

The good news is that there’s also a big body of experience about how to work with TV, and a better acknowledgement of the challenge in making that leap. I’d love to see Turner and the IndoorDIRECT guys crack the code and run programming made for TV but works well out of home.

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 12 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.
Dave Haynes


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Dave Haynes

2 thoughts on “Do people want to watch TV out of home?”

  1. Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the post on your blog. You make some great points. If you make it down to the states I would love to treat you to a Frosty, a burger or a Taco at one of our locations so you can view the screens in person. In the meantime you view our programming via our Internet feed.

    As you become more familiar with our programming strategy you will see that the actual product is TV but in smaller, “bite” size clips that are focused on sports, music videos and lifestyle content. This is well suited to our venues as the dwell time for our network is 25.3 minutes, according to Nielsen, which enables us to run full length music videos, NFL highlights and other short to medium length clips. With 90% of American’s visiting a QSR each month we focus the content on clips that would be appealing to the majority of restaurant diners – NFL highlights, music videos (top 40 mostly) and lifestyle clips about consumer electronics, computers or pop entertainment.

    The audience is seated (without DVRs) and the dining room TVs are 42 inch LCD screens (2 or more in each dining room) with sound and ambient noise detection to provide the optimal audio levels based on dining room activity. So we are truly providing an away- from-home TV experience. To provide more seamless integration of the clips from our over 100 content providers (and reduce the amount of “shoveling”) we have hosts that introduce each segment of the show in addition to segment IDs (Sports, Music, Lifestyle). The combination of hosts and segment IDs provide the viewer with the experience that they are watching a full show and not just random TV clips.

    Feel free to reach out if you ever have a question about indoorDIRECT or the Restaurant Entertainment Network. Thanks again for the write up and keep up the good work.

    Brian Hasenbauer
    VP of Marketing – indoorDIRECT

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