Project Profile: Hyperlocal Ad Network Expanding In Phoenix

September 21, 2012 by Dave Haynes

Unified Brand has been taking an interesting run at the whole hyperlocal digital network concept in the Phoenix area, and has now expanded into a sports center.

Aspire Kids Sports Center now has five HD displays in its facility, running a mix of licensed videos and other digital material from content providers like CBS, and syndicated health and information segments from shows such as The Doctors and Rachel Ray. The service, called NetNeighborhood TV, also empowers the Aspire management and staff to post their own content, including profiles on coaches and athletes, and program and event information.

Unified Brand says the service is designed around the age-old idea of small, local businesses investing in and supporting other small, local businesses, in this case in suburban Chandler.

“It is our intent to use this customized channel to drive value back to our committed and loyal parent community,” says Scott Barclay, CEO and Founder of Aspire Kids Sports Center, “through proactive messaging and communication of activities and events and helpful tips and hints that can make their life easier, or just provide entertaining tidbits that help pass the time. We anticipate that the athletes highlighted on the network will be equally excited to be seen on AspireTV.”

Guy Tonti, CEO and owner of Unified Brand, stresses the importance of the small business approach.  “We believe in the value of community and the neighborhood concept at Unified Brand. The NetNeighborhood that is running at Aspire Kids Sports Center, and at other East Valley locations, delivers the advertising of participating local businesses within the same neighborhood or area. This presents participating businesses a way to gain much needed visibility through lead referrals, co-promotions and brand associations, very similar to a traditional referral network…only digital. With the growth of digital and mobile, we see great opportunities to move small business customers away from costly and ineffective traditional advertising, toward a more modern, cost-effective and responsive style of communication.”

The Chandler NetNeighborhood now has 10 locations, and there are NetNeighborhood in Scottsdale and in the Arcadia/Biltmore neighborhood. In all, there are 50 sites and Tonti says there 30 advertisers.

How It Works

The hyperlocal, digital ad-driven network is a model that’s been tried in many locales. We hear about the flame-outs of national Digital OOH networks and I am very curious if the story and model is different down at the local level, where there are no visions of national media buys and world domination.

With NetNeighborhood:

· The venue owns and installs the TVs, cabling, internet and power;

· Unified Brand supplies the player;

· The primary window on the screen layout is the venue’s, not the network’s (which is interesting). “Customer manages the main zone, for whatever purpose they want,” says Tont. “This can run the gamut from local produced videos and TV ads, content we assist in developing for them to mention their sponsors, partners, events, current information, and for Aspire keeping the parents and kids updated on events. The loop is completely variable … the only stipulation is that we reserve the right to sell two minutes of every 15 minutes for non-competing advertising;

· Tonti’s company provides as much additional content (local and national news, sports, movie trailers, trivia, et al) as they customer wants to fill the main zone;

· The side panels, called info center, is where other non-competing screen customers get to show their ads (15-20 seconds); and Unified sells spots to customers without screens (like local real estate people);

· Unified Brand works with the screen customer to show community and non-profit content, events, etc. (they have signs in city and chamber of commerce locations);

· Ad sales is through Unified Brand’s direct hyper-local sales team.

I’ve been a broken record on the whole multi-zone thing, but will say in this circumstance it is much more workable simply because of dwell time. If you are a parent with a kid in one of these programs, you have at least an hour of hanging around and a lot more opportunity to watch, not just glance.


Have a project or network you’d like to show off  detail. I’m running profiles on ones that are spectacular, highly strategic, very different or just interesting in the business approach. I need detail and I need visuals, and I whittle out the hype. If interested, contact me via dave [at] 


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