Harris Still Ticking; Dealer TV Driving License Deals

February 27, 2013 by Dave Haynes

Honda SS ABN Signage - Sales Lo-Res

Harris was pretty much written off as done in mid-2013 after the parent company announced it was divesting its Harris Broadcast division, which included digital signage. But the company is still very much around, has a booth at DSE, and is making inroads with some clients.

Probably the most notable is in the deal done a couple of years ago, more or less, with a company that “does” auto dealers. How the  Jacksonville, FL-based Automotive Broadcasting Network does dealerships in terms of content and busy screens is not my cup of tea, but apparently a lot of guys like it. However, they also do stuff full-screen and tuned to dealer areas and dynamics.

Says a release this morning:

The Automotive Broadcasting Network (ABN) is several months into its large-scale, digital signage network rollout at auto dealerships across the United States. Harris Digital Out-Of-Home solutions serve as the core network architecture, with the company’s InfoCaster suite of hardware and software products supporting all dynamic content creation, network management and targeted media playout functions. Harris Digital Out-Of-Home is also providing on-site installation and managed services from its network operation center.

“We have more than 600 media players deployed, powering well over 1000 screens in 42 states,” said Jerry Daniels, president and CEO of Automotive Broadcasting Network. “And we are hearing plenty of success stories, from building positive customer relationships to driving transactions.”

 Honda of Superstition Springs in Phoenix is one such story. Executive manager Christopher Zamora reports that sales are up since increasing his in-house advertising efforts. The ABN network delivers customized, targeted content to the dealership’s showroom, parts boutique and service areas. This includes digital menu boards in the parts and service departments that offer price lists and customer discounts, as well as other promotional content and TV entertainment delivered via ABN’s flagship Dealer TV programming.

“We spend between $75,000 and $100,000 a month on advertising, traditionally targeting television, radio, direct mail and other external methods,” said Zamora. “I thought it made sense to bring more of that in house and generate a response that we could measure. My philosophy is that the best customers to buy cars, services and parts are in your dealership already. We’ve had the screens up for four months, and we just had our best January on record.”

Zamora and Daniels both confirm that the InfoCaster-powered visual quality of the screens is a major benefit. Zamora comments on the “wow factor” of the dynamic, interactive content and how that translates to attracting viewers and influencing sales. Daniels adds that the flexible network management tools of InfoCaster have allowed ABN to completely transition from its long-time satellite delivery platform to multi-point Internet delivery, enhancing ABN’s ability to target custom content to different screens and locations.

ABN launched its Dealer TV service in 2008 to enhance the automotive retail experience for customers and better control sales environments. Daniels adds that InfoCaster allows his creative staff to add multiple zones of graphics and animations for livelier screens, and has enabled ABN to integrate social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to engage dealerships and their customers.

Harris announced earlier that its latest release of InfoCaster has a series of new management and creative capabilities. The company is at booth 907 at DSE.


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