When you think content creation, you think guys who sell power bars, right?

October 24, 2011 by Dave Haynes

When you think of content creation for digital signage, the logical resource for getting that stuff done is a huge global distributor of display panels, mounts, power bars and countless other bits of AV and IT gear. Right?

OK, maybe not.

But that’s what Ingram Micro is now offering up – content creation services as a SKU in its massive distribution catalogue of all things IT and AV.

In a release today, the company announced Digital Signage Content Creation Services by Ingram Micro.

“Ingram Micro’s new Content Creation Services enable us to deliver an integrated soup-to-nuts digital signage solution to our channel partners that is affordable, customizable and scalable,” says Kevin Prewett, vice president, vendor management, Ingram Micro U.S. “These new, high-value services will help fill in the gaps where a solution provider or managed service provider (MSP) might not have the knowledge or expertise on staff to offer a complete digital signage solution.”

The ability to extend a digital signage sale into an ongoing recurring revenue model by adding customizable content creation for customers enables Ingram Micro channel partners to market and sell digital signage solutions with an ongoing service, explains Prewett.

“While some resellers have tackled content creation, it can be a stumbling block for others,” says Prewett. “With Ingram Micro’s Digital Signage Content Creation Services, we’ve simplified the model and made it easier and more profitable for channel partners to offer content creation and management services as part of the solution and service.”

To help channel partners maximize their digital signage sales opportunities, Ingram Micro is working closely with key manufacturer partners including NEC, LG and Sharp to offer targeted education, training, content creation software, and support that will help resellers tackle creation and management of content and offer a wider array of digital signage solutions.

The SKU is in the US and will be added “soon” to Canada. You would buy it through the Ingram Micro Digital Signage sales team at 800-456-8000, x77607 or their Ingram Micro sales representative.

The release, as you can see, is heavy on Yippee and light on actual details, so I asked and kindly got some from Ingram’s PR group.

Q: How is content defined? Is it original creative for advertising? Original creative for marketing? Syndicated content for editorial and entertainment?

A: Content is defined as the advertising or information that is developed and communicated on the display.  This content could be in the form of a PDF or video file.

Q: Has Ingram hired people to do this work? What is this work?

A: Ingram Micro is using third-party content creators to create content upon a customers’ request.

Q: What is the scope of the “Digital Signage Content Creation Services?”

A: Currently, Digital Signage Content Creation services is the content creation itself.  There might be an opportunity to expand on this in the near future.

Q: Is Ingram reselling other content creators product, ie ScreenFeed, newswire services?

A: Ingram Micro is not currently reselling other content.

Q: Who are the upstream partners, meaning content creators (not downstream like NEC, LG)?

A: We’re keeping this under wraps. Thank you.

Q: How would I “buy” this content as a VAR? How does that buy work (ie subscription fee? One-time fee?)

A: It’s a SKU that is based on the number of hours quoted to develop the content.

So, Ingram has worked a deal with unnamed production houses to produce content for $XX/studio hour and will re-sell it for $XXX/studio hour, presumably at way healthier margins than they can get off gear which can be sourced and price-compared in a bazillion ways.

I have no idea who but my first guess would involve a wild west theme. Neither side will say, I’d imagine, so that client-direct rates and margins are protected.

Ingram already has a relationship with Flypaper, which markets a content creation platform and would be pretty nicely positioned to also use its toolset to crank stuff out.

There is some logic here, in that the downstream resellers of digital signage “stuff” are challenged to know how to sell the bits and pieces effectively, never mind the very soft, squishy stuff like creative. Intuitively, most of the VARs would know they are paying extra – or more accurately their clients are paying extra – because of the extra layer of margin. But without much of a clue as to where else to turn, and no company that can even hint at being the big dog in content creation in this space, maybe this works.

Just about everything I have heard suggests selling service-based software through “the channel” is really, really hard, so I doubt anyone thinks this is an easy winner for Ingram. But it also can’t be summarily dismissed as a no-hoper. The marketplace will dictate whether this flies, and how Ingram manages the seller education and marketing pieces.

Interesting, either way.


  1. Kevin Griffin says:

    While I agree that content creation is not distributing hardware, I think the addition of content creation services from Ingram is consistent with their model – especially in the digital signage division – of helping resellers more easily respond to the needs of this unique market. I applaud the effort and wish them well on the execution.

  2. Dave Haynes says:

    Thanks Kevin

    Yes, I agree they earn a hat tip for the effort. Time will tell if it work out. Creative services as a SKU is a little out there.

  3. […] announcement comes just a few weeks after Tech Data key competitor Ingram Micro announced its own Digital Signage Content Creation Services. In that case, Ingram politely declined to say who their content partners are. My first guess was […]

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