ScreenScape Goes Platinum With Private Label Offer

November 6, 2013 by Dave Haynes

ScreenScape Networks, based in beautiful little PEI in Canada’s Atlantic region, has been around for many years with a web-based digital signage platform that has largely been positioned at the entry-level and SMB markets.

They’ve done pretty well, from what I can tell, in building up a list of networks in the small to medium business market. Now they’ve added what’s been a big ask from clients and prospects – a private label version called Platinum, which lets network operators/owners private-label the platform. That means instead of logging in to ScreenScape, users with login credentials hit a site that’s branded from that login page and in with the company’s logo and look and feel.

It’s by no means an entirely new concept, but the press and video I looked at suggest this is quite a bit more than a vanilla offer that has a “You Logo Here” zone.

I’ve known company founder Mark Hemphill for a bunch of years, and he offered to do a Q&A to get a little deeper into the thinking, and what the company is up to …

Q – You’ve introduced Platinum, I gather, because you had a lot of clients and prospects asking for private label solutions. What’s the attraction to going private label?

Hemphill – It’s our number one feature request among network operators – those that want to capitalize on the growth of place-based media.   We’ve often heard the theme….ScreenScape as a model for growing a global digital signage network is brilliant.   So what’s the problem?  I have to send my customers to to get them started and that doesn’t put me in control, it doesn’t give me top billing.  With ScreenScape for Groups, Platinum we’ve removed those objections.

Q – You can do more than just slap on a company logo and monkey with the color scheme, correct?

A – The first release of Platinum focuses on the login page and the editor which really defines the user experience.  With ScreenScape for Groups you can already add default assets to an individual member account for them to repurpose as they see fit, and of course distribute your own finished content items selectively to any number of members in your Group.  So Platinum helps to package up these components and present it more as a custom-tailored solution.

Q – The release suggests the private label is the first of a few things that will be part of the Platinum offer. What else is coming, and when?

A – Yes, that’s correct.  We have plans to introduce a suite of extensions to ScreenScape for Groups that fall into one of four categories – Brand, Content, Control, and Analytics.

Q – What the are the commercial arrangements around this? I assume you pay more for Platinum than the standard version.

A – Our strategy is to keep the basic functionality of ScreenScape for Groups cost-effective and very accessible to budget-conscious customers.   Platinum features will be priced at a step above the basic Groups functionality.

Q – You hired an ex-BlackBerry guy to run the tech side of the business. Is this the first product coming out under his guidance?

A – Actually the Platinum work had gotten started even before Ken Schneider’s arrival.  We are all Internet software guys so we’ve always considered our technology advantage to be our strength.  But Ken’s leadership has brought that to a whole new level.  In my opinion he is one of the brightest software minds to come out of Blackberry.  Ken’s fingerprints are all over our next big release which, fittingly, is all about device management.

Q – How are things going for ScreenScape, in terms of market penetration and focus? What kind of head-count are you at, and where are they?

A – We have grown steadily each year.  We are at 23 people with seven of those based out of Ontario and the balance based here in Charlottetown.   As far as market penetration goes we have gained significant market share in automotive, healthcare and retail financial services.  We consider our focus to be the content creation and delivery process which starts with a brand strategy and ends with a unique impression that takes place inside a place of business.

Q – Your company kinda-sorta started at the entry-level end of the market, and Platinum is adding on what I’d look at as a more sophisticated layer. Is that a reflection of where the marketplace is, or how you are adjusting to an evolving customer base?  

A – Our first product was ScreenScape for Single Venues which caters to businesses one location at a time.  So it was only natural that we were known as a business enabler with a right sized solution for a manager of a single location.  We believed from the start and we continue to believe that this is a key to building out a global network for place-based media.  But ScreenScape for Groups, our second product, is just as important.  It was built based on the idea of intelligent content distribution and eventually offering businesses a private portal for curating content –   helping members with their digital assets, with their screens, with their advertising, whatever they needed.    With the advent of ScreenScape for Groups, Platinum, we are building out this concept starting with the branding itself.   In this way our platform is becoming more sophisticated and more appreciated by industry partners that want to build on this technology.

At the same time we see IT departments embracing our technology for their own internal networks, their own retail networks, with banks and credit unions being perfect examples.  These are new entrants that are expanding the marketplace. Along with retail, education, and healthcare applications they represent a huge end user market for us – you might say this is the long tail of place-based media in action.

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