Vancouver’s Solara360 Selling $175K Digital Signage Franchise Dreams

June 20, 2014 by Dave Haynes


To the credit of digital signage franchisor Dorn Beattie, President and CEO of Solara360, he concedes in a press release that selling advertising is a tough business.

“In an age where the news, weather, an unlimited library and communication to anywhere is all in your hand and available anytime you want, it is no wonder that the casualty rate of media companies is so high,” he notes.

But … his company is selling $175,000 franchise dreams to small business people on the premise that Digital OOH advertising is a diamond find waiting to be mined.

Says the news release for the Vancouver-based firm:

Solara360’s SCAN system is unique in that we place our own brand of High Definition LCD’s in popular environments where people gather for 60 to 90 minutes to have lunch, dinner or to watch the ‘game.’ Our clients advertising is displayed in a repeating loop on the same screen at the same time as popular sporting events or entertainment features. A Solara360 advertiser could expect their ten second high definition advertisement to appear ten to fifteen times during a ‘BIG’ game on all the Solara360 LCD’s in that location. “It’s amazing exposure for anyones brand at a cost far less than newsprint” stated Beattie. Our SCAN system levels the playing field between Mom and Pop business trying to compete with the big guys.

The actual franchise fee is $25K and the anticipated capital investment to install into 10 venues eats the $150,000. Solara also gets $5 per sold ad per venue, with that covering off 24/7 managed support services.

The advertising canvas is the squeezed top and right-hand side bar of network TV signals. You load up that area with a variation of web display banner ads. You hire someone to sell for you, or sell the ad space yourself.

Vancouver seems to weirdly be some sort of a hub for digital signage franchises. Another company, RTOWN. chased that model for several years but recently did a pivot into small business marketing. I donlt see any hint of the old model on that website.

I had not heard of Solara. Don’t know the folks who run it. I’ll just echo what Beattie says: Selling ads is a tough business.

Companies have for more than 15 years now been trying to sell hyper-local digital signage ad networks, and the list of success stories is short. Really short.

With a food franchise, you tend to have people coming to you because they’re hungry. With an advertising business, you have to go to companies and tell them they’re hungry for advertising, and get them to bite – even though most small businesses have little or no marketing budget.

The company boast it is easily the world’s best digital signage franchise network. How that gets measured, I have no idea. There’s only a few, so they could probably meet for coffee and hash that out.

  1. Editor says:

    The weird thing is Solara’s not even new. I’m not sure what Dorn is ‘launching’ now except a press release.

  2. Dorn Beattie says:

    Thank you for your attention David. I am an avid reader.
    In 2004, I listened to Lyle Bunn and other prestigious panel members speak at the Strategy Institutes ‘Digital Signage’ Show in Chicago. What I came away with is that everyone was going the DS software route. According to the latest publication from Digital Signage Today(.com) there are more than 171 flavors of Digital Signage software to choose from. I chose a different path by taking the hardware route. I manufacture my own LCD’s right here in the USA. Now in their fourth generation, my LCD’s are unlike anything on the market – anywhere. Love to show you one. I run them with real servers, not pocket PC’s. I sell a ‘turnkey’ Franchise package for under $100,000 and manage the whole back-end on behalf of my Franchisees. Solara360 is job creation. Solara360 is low cost – high exposure advertising for Mom & Pop. Solara360 is focussed ‘Community Based’ advertising. I have been polishing this product since 2007 and now present it under the acronym of SCAN. Solara360 Captive Audience Network. Corny? Maybe. But what’s wrong with that?
    Love to buy you lunch in one of our Franchise locations. Hopefully you will write about Solara360 again.



  3. Dorn, wow! 2004!! U do keep up with the times!

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