Challenging The Content And Context Formula

July 3, 2012 by Dave Haynes

Context when it comes to content can be pretty important, but a new content partnership raises an interesting set of questions about that whole idea of tuning content to to the environment and what’s going on in it.

The Reelzchannel – a cable/sat network that is nothing but movies content – has announced a partnership with Digital OOH network operator  out-of-home 10 Foot Wave “to deliver the latest stories about movies and celebrities to new auto dealerships and repair centers nationwide.”

Content from Albuquerque, N.M.-based Reelz will run on more than 500 automotive service locations, including select GM, Goodyear, Sears Automotive and Tire Factory locations nationwide.

“We’re excited to partner with 10 Foot Wave to continue to expand our out-of-home coverage across the country,” says Reelz executive John deGarmo. “Customers waiting on car repairs can use a bit of the escapism and fantasy that movies provide and the REELZ programming seen on 10 Foot Wave’s ‘ScreenWave TV’ is the perfect relief.”

“Entertainment and celebrity news is one of the most requested categories on our private waiting room television programs,” says  David Van Epps, Chief Operating Officer of Charlotte, N.C.-based 10 Foot Wave. “Customers wait for maintenance on their vehicles an average of 45 minutes at a repair facility, and ‘ScreenWave TV’ makes that time much more enjoyable. REELZ is a terrific addition to our content lineup, and we’re thrilled to have partnered with them as we continue our rapid nationwide expansion.”

The context argument would be that in this environment, the appropriate content should be all about “motoring.” People are thinking about cars, so give then car content. The easy route is to buy syndicated content or do a partnership deal to get auto programming.

BUT … are people waiting at an auto service center for oil changes and new tires suddenly far more interested in watching “motoring” content? I’m not. Don’t watch that stuff at home and parked in a chair waiting for my car, I’m no more so game to watch it.

Whether Hollywood content is a better idea, I dunno. I think to kill the time it beats news tickers and much of what fills out many programming loops. But I know in the auto service centers I end up in, most have Wi-Fi. I’m not watching a Digital OOH screen just to kill that time.

The other context argument is that content about auto care and the need for periodic maintenance is the sort of thing that will resonate with viewers. Not sure about that. Small doses, sure, but 30-40 minutes of only slightly subtle reminders to spend more money with that service center will get most people tuning out.

Content strategies are complicated things, and there is peril in going obvious routes and peril in making assumptions. As a friend said, and I repeat all the time, you have to earn viewers.


  1. David:
    Sixteen:Nine is a daily read, so it was nice to see 10FW pick up a mention. Thanks for commenting on this press release. I certainly agree with you assessment that content has to be in context with the particular network implementation. Regardless of the appearance of screen layouts, RSS feeds, news, weather, etc., the primary content has to benefit the audience that’s presenting it or viewing it.

    Our ScreenWave TV program is actually intended as a general interest, customizable private television offering that provides customer programmable entertainment and information for waiting rooms. In addition to the recently announced Reelz relationship, we also have a content relationships with CBS who provides excerpted segments from 60 Minutes, Big Bang Theory, CBS Sunday Morning, The Price is Right, Survivor and many other first run programs. For our automotive clients, we also blend content from My Classic Car, The Auto Channel, and Speed Channel, or insert information on new car models or promotion offers that may be of interest to a customer who’s waiting for their car to be serviced.

    10FW’s platform let’s our end user clients insert their own content into the playlist, and make specific choices as to the entertainment blocks that are played for their customers. We’re creating a great general interest waiting room program for those who’d like to watch TV while they wait.

    As a paid subscription network, and not a free ad based model our clients tell us the content is relevant in one of the most important ways…their checkbooks.

    All the best.

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