RMG does deals with Groupon, intros NFC play for Digital OOH

April 28, 2011 by Dave Haynes

I’m not so sure I agree with the strategy of releasing a gush of announcements, but the said gush I just got from RMG Networks is pretty interesting.

CEO Garry McGuire did a keynote at CETW this morning and along with talking about how Digital OOH and OOH TV hit consumers throughout a day, he made a number of partnership announcements:

1 – They’re doing Near-Field with Blue Bite (later this year)

Making use of the emerging Near Field Communications (NFC) mobile technology, RMG and technology partner Blue Bite launched a first-of-its-kind place-based media network that exists entirely on mobile devices. Test locations for this new media network have been deployed around San Francisco with roll out to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston in the second half of 2011.

Search giant Google is pursuing a similar platform as NFC is incorporated into its Android phones but the RMG/Blue Bite offering combines the power of digital out-of-home media to activate consumers at the point of purchase with the exciting new NFC technology that enables them to act. Inaugural sponsor HOTELS.COM has signed on to prove the effectiveness of this exciting new platform.

“We are enthusiastic about the launch of mTag and our NFC capability with RMG Networks, staying true to our core belief in the innovative use of leading-edge technologies to increase value for consumers, our advertising clients and our partners,” said Mikhail Damiani, CEO and Co-Founder of Blue Bite.

2 – They’ve done a deal with Groupon to Bring Daily Deals to DOOH

Leveraging the power of place, and the context of time, RMG has partnered with Groupon to deliver timely and relevant offers to millions of active consumers when they are away-from-home and making purchase decisions.

This first-of-its-kind affiliate relationship in the DOOH space will bring daily Groupon offers to over 75,000 digital screens and reach 35 million viewers each month. Consumers will be able to act on daily deals using RMG’s recent deployment of mTag NFC technology. The RMG Groupon offers will roll out across the company’s media networks including: NYTimes.com Today, Fitness Entertainment Network, Point-of-Care, and Executive Media Network. RMG locations will begin launching Groupon deals on May 16th, 2011.

3 – They’re doing Location-Based Services with LocaModa and Foursquare

To deliver even greater utility for venues and new customer engagement opportunities, RMG taps into the power of social media technology to help venue owners grow their businesses. Along with social media partner LocaModa, RMG is launching a location-based service (LBS) using Foursquare that is designed to filter social streams and allow advertisers to further engage with customers at the point of purchase. This new product is re-thinking location-based services as a platform and helping venues and marketers grow their businesses.

LocaModa CEO Stephen Randall added, “RMG’s leadership position in the digital out-of-home industry and their continued expansion of place-based social media across their networks, is helping to define the future of the digital out home industry. The marriage of place-based screens to social media in a venue-safe manner, makes it much easier for venues and advertisers to derive utility as well as engagement.”

4 – They’re doing mobile interactive with ScreenReach

Through a technology partnership with ScreenReach, RMG is able to create new opportunities for people to use mobile devices to engage with the DOOH screen. In the coming months this partnership should result in campaigns that turn passive media viewers into engaged participants. The ScreenReach platform allows marketers to deploy marketing programs that encourage people to play games, post pictures, and participate in quizzes and polls. RMG will even be able to reward people with instant prizing, coupons, vouchers and gifts. The possibilities for this platform are endless and present an exciting new frontier for customer engagement.

“RMG is working with best-in-class technology partners in both mobile and social to offer the most innovative and engaging technology options for consumers, advertisers and venue partners,” says McGuire.

Well … all very interesting. I suppose there is heft and pop in doing all this at once, but the Groupon and NFC things are announcements on their own. The Locamoda and ScreenReach deals have been hinted at in a bunch of ways lately, not surprisingly via social media.

Regarding Groupon, probably a good move on both sides. RMG capitalizes on all the buzz and Groupon gets a new distribution platform that isn’t opted-in by getting emails or loading apps. RMG also gets sticky content, as I am guessing people are more interested in a good deal than the latest batshit-crazy statement by Donald Trump.

For social, more buzz via hanging out with the cool kids (Foursquare). RMG is wise to work with Stephen Randall at LocaModa, who gets this stuff but isn’t wild-eyed about the possibilities. He knows strategy has to be in the same sentence as cool.

Regarding NFC, this is for now largely a buzz play – but certainly a likely sign of things to come. It doesn’t hurt at all, even just in optics terms, to be looking like your company is ahead of the curve and ready for emerging technology.

With this effort, Hotels.com and The New York Times have signed up as inaugural sponsors for campaigns that will deliver exclusive mobile content and drive downloads of their smartphone applications. Users will see branded content for Hotels.com and The New York Times on  RMG Displays with a call-to-action instructing them to “Tap or Scan” the nearby mTAG™ placard installed at or near the point of sale.

Once the users touch their phone to the NFC enabled mTAG™, location-specific content will automatically be displayed on their mobile device via Blue Bite’s proprietary content delivery and management system. Users will also have the ability to bookmark specific mTAGs™ to view content and offers at their favorite locations in the future. For those not yet familiar with NFC technology, the same content will be available via a QR Code.

That’s very cool – except precious few handsets right now support NFC. That will likely change big-time, but for now we’re talking the earliest of early adopter users. QR codes are an option, but that means scanning and you will get all kinds of opinions on the merits and take-up of that.

All told, some very progressive announcements from a company that, as stated in the past, is one of small number of truly new companies (as opposed to OOH guys going DOOH) that will likely be standing and very big in two-three years.

Layering social, mobile and interactive elements actually walks the talk, as opposed to all the conference sessions where firms talk about Interactive OOH being where it’s at, and then going back and selling the usual stuff.


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