Captivate Buys Office Media Network

April 1, 2014 by Dave Haynes


In what you’d likely call common-sense and inevitable, the two digital OOH networks that competed for the ad dollars aimed at the business crowd have become one.

Captivate Network is buying Office Media Network for undisclosed terms of cash and stock.

The strategic consolidation creates North America’s largest in-office media network and leverages the strengths of each company’s distribution, technology, media solutions and editorial content, resulting in a stronger network and better solutions for Captivate’s advertising and commercial real estate business partners. The resulting merged network will encompass more than 12,000 screens installed in more than 1,800 premier office buildings across North America’s top urban markets.

Office Media Network, which featured The Wall Street Journal Office Network, was founded in 2006 and offered world-class content on digital signage screens in more than 750 premier office buildings across 15 top U.S. markets.

If these companies are unfamiliar, Captivate does screens in elevators, while Office Media puts large screens in office tower lobbies.

Captivate has an interim license with Dow Jones to keep using the WSJ brand and editorial content.

For the short-term, both networks will continue to operate separately while working to fully integrate OMN’s technology, operations and staff into Captivate Network. Kidd said the integration process should be completed before the end of 2014, although advertisers immediately will be able to place buys across both networks through the Captivate sales team.

Jim Harris, founder and CEO of OMN, will join Captivate’s Advisory Board to help facilitate the integration, and will work closely with Captivate’s senior leadership team on network development and new business opportunities. Many other members of OMN’s staff also will join Captivate.

Captivate Network, founded in 1997, built a network of more than 10,000 elevator displays located in more than 1,000 premier office buildings in the U.S. and Canada. The company is owned by Generation Partners and Gannett Co.

Comments from execs and stakeholders from the release:

“This strategic consolidation is a big win for our advertising and commercial real estate partners,” said Marc Kidd, Captivate’s chief executive officer. “For the real estate community, we can provide more value through easier customization of solutions to meet the unique needs of each partner, and a more streamlined approach to developing innovations that reinforce Captivate’s value as a class A building amenity and eco-friendly tenant communication solution.”

Added Mark Shapiro, Captivate’s chairman of the board, “The acquisition of OMN not only reinforces Captivate’s leadership position in providing in-office media solutions, but also illustrates the efficiencies and growth that this type of strategic consolidation can bring to the digital place-based media sector. It bodes well not just for the future of Captivate, but also for our entire industry.”

Todd Newville, who oversees Captivate’s real estate building partnerships as senior vice president, technology & operations, said, “The OMN lobby screen service will expand on our proven in-elevator solution to allow buildings to reach tenants in public areas outside of the elevator cabs.”

Tim Callahan, president & chief executive officer, Callahan Capital Properties, said, “I have enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with both Captivate and OMN, and can see how the combined entities will be able to offer a robust solution under a single roof. Combining these two quality companies can only be a positive development for the commercial real estate industry and its tenants.”

For the advertising community, Kidd said, “This consolidation greatly enhances our ability to connect brands with a highly valuable, hard to reach, Nielsen-measured audience via   creative and research-proven solutions that deliver results. Advertisers and agencies will now have a single point of contact to develop ad programs that capitalize on the best of each network’s capabilities and solutions.”

Kidd said the combination of Captivate and OMN will deliver a significantly larger network and audience, with the network’s number of buildings growing by more than 70% and unique monthly reach increasing by nearly 60% over Captivate’s already industry-leading footprint. The “new” Captivate Network will deliver more than 65 million Nielsen-measured A18+ ad impressions each month.

David Krupp, chief executive officer of Kinetic U.S., added, “The advertising industry has been looking for this type of consolidation for some time. Having one strong player in the office screens environment will be good for everyone involved. For us, it will make it easier to incorporate in-office screens into our video planning.”  

This makes a pile of sense and removes the lobby network as a nuisance for the much larger elevator network. My guess is a lot of media plan buys involved both networks, but there would be cases where two sales people with very similar audiences were fighting for the same ad budget.

I would have thought a few months ago that RMG Networks, flush with money from going public, might go after the office network to build up its offer that includes business travelers and Regus office centers. But the company’s financials probably need to improve before it starts buying other companies.

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