Paper Madness In The Land Of Flat Panels


One of my lingering impression of spending time last week in Seoul was how technologically advanced it was in so any ways, and how backward mobile retailing was in the land of Samsung and LG.

This is a VERY typical Korean mobile carrier store. I don’t know enough about how things work over there, but I’m guessing this is a reseller for a major carrier, as opposed to a corporate store.

Anywhere I went, stores that are in the business of selling highly advanced smart screens for pockets and purses were wallpapering the fronts of their stores with old school paper signs. Often with so much paper it was hard to even see inside. The pic above was not on a side street, but at the entry to Seoul’s vast central rail station.

Is slapping up paper cheaper than using digital? Probably. Does it make more sense? Almost certainly not, because the devices, prices and plan features steadily shift, and the mobile phone business is pretty heavily about brand and conspicuous consumption.

One daylight-readable window display could probably do a more effective job than all of that black and white paper, and be updated in seconds, not hours or (more likely) days using print.

You see a fair amount of digital signage in Seoul, but not at the level of penetration or sophistication you’d expect, given how a big percentage of the screens used in signage globally come out of South Korea.

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 12 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Dave Haynes


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Dave Haynes