DSA marks year with new name, merger and CETW partnership

February 17, 2011 by Dave Haynes

It has now been a year since the established order of the digital signage sector was shaken up with news of the Digital Signage Federation. Very suddenly, there were two opposing organizations competing for the hearts and minds of companies and individuals active in this sector.

I asked the heads of the two organizations if they could provide guest posts as to where they are at one year on.

A Note From David Drain, Executive Director of the Digital Screenmedia Association

It’s been quite a year.

In early 2010, I was managing two associations, the Digital Signage Association and the Self-Service & Kiosk Association. Starting in November 2009, the Digital Signage Association Advisory Board decided to explore trade show options and independence. Up until that point, the associations were owned and operated by NetWorld Alliance, publishers of Digital Signage Today, Kiosk Marketplace and other news websites.

At the Digital Signage Association’s Advisory Board meeting one year ago, the votes to pursue a trade show and independent, non-profit status were unanimous. The trade show options included creating a new show or aligning with one of the existing shows in the space.

As the Digital Signage Association pursued independence, it also considered expanding its scope to include kiosks and mobile technology. Even though I was managing both groups, which had a number of crossover members, the Executive Committees of each association contained entirely different people. Merger discussions ensued between the two associations and a task force made up of members of both groups met several times to explore the opportunity and work out a transition plan. A new name, Digital Screenmedia Association (DSA), was also proposed.

Each association’s Advisory Board subsequently took a vote on the merger, new name and scope. An overwhelming majority of the Digital Signage Association Advisory Board voted in favor followed by the Self-Service & Kiosk Association Advisory Board voting unanimously in favor. The merger became official on April 13 and the application for tax-exempt status of the new non-profit corporation was submitted. DSA is now recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(6) organization.

Following the merger, there was much work to be done. A task force worked with DSA’s legal counsel to prepare bylaws and a management agreement between DSA and NetWorld Alliance. Meanwhile, another task force developed and sent out a request for proposal to potential trade show partners.

The bylaws and management agreement were completed by June. A new website was also launched that month, featuring member blogs, as well as an industry calendar of events, links to research, a glossary of industry terms, press releases from members and a members-only area containing our library of best practice documents and archives of the DSA Quarterly.

Throughout the summer and into the early fall, negotiations were held with potential trade show partners. On October 1, DSA reached an agreement with JD Events to make Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) the official show of the DSA. The mission of the show and the association were aligned: to bring end users, vendors and others together through education.

The agreement afforded many benefits to DSA and its members: increased visibility, involvement in the education program, special member pricing on exhibiting (10% savings), a “home base” for member networking, and funding for the organization. DSA also agreed to assume the awards program formerly handled by the show. The call for entries went out last week.

In addition to CETW, DSA also developed strategic marketing agreements with conference organizers such as The Screen and Strategy Institute and with research companies such as PQ Media and Summit Research, giving our member special member pricing on their offerings.

Late last summer, we learned through the DailyDOOH that Minkus Electronic Display Systems began naming a very large number of companies in the digital signage industry in a lawsuit claiming patent infringement. Since it appeared the company in question was a “patent troll,” we asked Steve Nesbit, a former DSA Advisory Board member to help organize a meeting of the defendants for the purpose of encouraging the companies to work together. That meeting took place on October 4 in New York City.

In addition to the members-only DSA Quarterly newsletter mentioned earlier, DSA publishes a weekly e-newsletter that is free to anyone. We’re pleased to have over 7,600 opt-in subscribers.

In December, we released two publications for sale, Self-Service Future Trends and the Digital Signage Almanac.

On the social networking front, DSA sponsors three groups on LinkedIn. DSA Digital Signage boasts nearly 1,500 members; DSA Self-Service Kiosk has 968 at last count and our newest group, DSA Mobile has 150. DSA has about 950 followers on Twitter and can be found under the handle @iDigScreenmedia.

For the sake of space, I won’t go on about our other initiatives and activities, but if you are interested, you can read about:

DSA’s expansion into Asia, led by Manolo Almagro

Free webinars available on-demand

Online digital signage training by Lyle Bunn (SPEED)

DSA Digital Signage Zone at the SGIA Expo

DSA sponsorship of the digital and outdoor signage pavilion at NRF

In spite of the difficult economy, DSA membership continued to grow during 2010, going from 588 members to 671 (14% increase) in 48 countries. We expect to surpass the 800-member mark this year.

There are many member volunteers to credit for the above achievements, but I would inevitably leave someone out if I tried to list them all. I would be remiss, however, without giving a lot of credit to the leadership of DSA President Stuart Armstrong.

DSA has been pleased to serve this industry through education, networking and advocacy and will continue to do so as the marketplace evolves.

Leave a comment