The Digital Content Circle goes live

February 26, 2011 by Dave Haynes

Somewhat lost in all the bustle and noise that is DSE week in Las Vegas were several announcements from vendors and other industry companies. Because there was interesting stuff coming out, but precious little time to more than nod at the releases, I am going to ignore the stale-date thing and look at a few of them this week.

First, word that the Digital Content Circle – first announced in 2009 – is now truly rolling.

The DCC is a think tank and forum developed to help raise the level of creative work and strategy in the digital signage sector. The volunteer-driven body, led by Arsenal Media and France’s Dagobert content shop, has been pulling together the framework for the organization, as well as a strong body of initial content for the DCC website.

“The DCC’s goal is to raise the overall understanding of content development for this medium, and therefore also raise the overall quality,” says Denys Lavigne, President of the Montreal creative firm Arsenal Media, and one of the driving forces behind the DCC. “The DCC exists to gather, publish and archive knowledge about the basics of producing strong, effective material, as well as about all the thinking that goes into planning and programming digital display networks.”

Ideally, says Lavigne, people who are new to the industry – whether as network operators or creative people – will have through the DCC a substantive resource for ideas and direction.

The DCC was conceived and organized by Lavigne and Olivier Debin, President of Paris-based Dagobert. The two companies have contributed substantial internal resources, time, and funds to develop the mandate, brand and website, the latter serving as DCC’s focal point and communications hub.

Their efforts have also had the support of several other well-known industry figures including: Phil Lenger, President/Founder of creative firm Show+Tell; Bill Gerba, CEO of the software firm Wirespring; blogger/consultant Adrian Cotterill (DailyDOOH); Laura Davis-Taylor, VP Global Retail Strategy for Creative Realities; creative consultant Arlene Zeichner, Principal of Zeichgeist; and me.

Many of the advisors have provided their ideas in articles now available on the site, and that’s bolstered by a large, diverse selection of thoughtful pieces by other senior industry people – some new, some refreshed from other publications. There is foundational advice posted about all aspects of content – from addressing the very basic question of how to recognize truly great content, to more involved subjects like content grids, budgeting, color and font choices and technology options.

The web site has a gallery intended to showcase, celebrate and analyze good work, as well as seek reviews and comments from experts who will take a methodical look at what’s in the field, and sort out what works and what doesn’t.

“This is not a commercial effort, where you will find product and service promotion disguised as advice or thought leadership. There’s a place for that, but it’s not here,” says Lavigne. “We want the DCC to be a home to solid, unbiased, spin-free advice and direction, as well as a forum for both ideas and arguments.”

The DCC page includes a prompt for contributions from anyone in the sector who has valid, relevant ideas about content and creative. All articles posted also have active commenting capabilities, and the DCC hopes to see a very active, thoughtful community develop through the site and new posts.

“The idea of a circle is that more and more people join in and make active contributions,” adds Debin. “The more people who see the value and use it, the better it will be.”

My bias and involvement side, this is a great, really important. There are too many people now talking about content, which is good. But some of the people talking about it and some of the stuff being celebrated, by association, is so-so (to be kind) or crap (to be honest).

A forum like this powers a way for people interested in content to pick apart how content is being done, and why things do or don’t work. The good stuff will be celebrated and the stuff that doesn’t measure up to the hype will get a good look from all angles.

I would love to see a forum like like get a thread going on the ambient content running on all the casino floor screens in the new Cosmopolitan resort in Las Vegas. It was entirely ambient and had nothing to do with gaming. People like me liked that. Other people would probably say in a financially-stressed, supply-high and demand-weak tourist town a new casino should be using any means available to sell drinks and games and meals.

This forum is also important and worth watching because the guys really behind it are at the top of their games. Lavigne (disclosure – a pressDOOH client) and his team OWNED the DSE content awards this year.

The DCC is not a club. They want as many people involved as possible. Have a look. Learn something. And contribute.


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