There are two primary ways that smaller Digital OOH networks can get to a size that attracts the attention of people controlling big media budgets – consolidation (mergers and acquisitions) or cooperation.
A group of Canadian networks have gone down the latter path, and are now at a size that offers some real heft and breadth of coverage.
The Canadian Health Media Network has announced (disclosure: clients/friends) this week it is now past 1,000 venues and one million viewers a week.
The network – which operates DOOH screens in medical environments such as clinic, lab and hospital waiting areas – now covers Canada’s top 11 DMAs and also reaches into more than 200 rural markets. CHMN now represents about 95 per cent of the relevant venues in the country that have Digital OOH displays operating in them.
CHMN is a collective of several independently operated national and regional health and wellness networks that all now use a common, shared sales and marketing team and stick to standardized metrics – the idea being that single source buying and a standard, credible story is attractive to media planning pros.
“Bringing CHMN’s operating footprint and audience size to where it now sits is an important step, not only for the network and its affiliates, but the DOOH industry in Canada as a whole,” says CHMN CEO Ed Voltan. “We now have a national network using what we believe are credible, easily grasped audience metrics that line up with how other media is bought and sold.”
I have known Voltan from the day I got into this nutty sector (he was ad sales and I was ops at the old Elevator News Network) and has been clawing away at this industry ever since – trying to get it to raise its collective game.
News of the network’s rapid growth (doubled in the past year) is interesting, but what catches my attention is how Voltan is pushing the industry as a whole to get more credible in how it goes to market.
“Basic common sense metrics, that at least minimally, elevate this medium to apples-to-apples comparisons with traditional media, are essential for the media planning and buying process,” explains Voltan, who hopes CHMN’s efforts spur other DOOH networks in Canada to follow suit. “Many of the industry’s larger OOH players – who are transitioning from static to digital boards – are avoiding or ignoring the effects of dwell time and loop length on their previously accredited audience measurements. This practice is disingenuous, and does a disservice to the industry as a whole.”
“The medium has immense potential,” explains Voltan, who has been selling national ad mediums for more than three decades, “but full acceptance with media planning pros will only come when we, as an industry, neuter any objections about dubious metrics and get to the real conversation. That’s about how Digital Out Of Home media delivers context in programming, and reaches people at impactful moments.”
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.