My Thoughts On Last Week’s DOOH Strategy Summit

March 18, 2015 by guest author, Trey Hicks


dwThis week marks my return to the east coast from the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas. Before jumping into my thoughts on the entire show, I wanted to offer my thoughts and feedback on the DOOH Strategy Summit.

The pre-show event offered unique insights from media professionals and network owners. There were some great quotes and one-liners from the day’s panelists, of which I have listed some of my favorites below:

– End product and message has to be relevant and useful when tapping into large data store

– Think of programmatic buying versus a buying platform (short-term vs long-term buy)

– We don’t want someone to experiment with OOH via programmatic and only purchase one spot

– Just because a consumer can connect to a smart screen, doesn’t mean that he wants to

– Contextual relevance is the next step up from big data – Needs to be relevant to a large enough audience so as not to be creepy

– Colossal Media – Billboard painting artists in New York City equipped with GoPro cameras: Awesome example of OOH media company activating social media

– Location with exceptional accuracy is a game-changer

– Video is the new day-part: Agnostic to platform

– Media planners are still biased to channel planning – digital place-based is not its own channel yet (just seen as an extension)

– Change doesn’t happen because you convince the doubters, but rather because they die

As you can see, there were some really great takeaways from the all-day event. My favorite session had to be the one with my friends Josh Cohen of Pearl Media and Rishi Shah of Context Media. They joined Adam Oliveri from Six Flags to discuss the inherent challenges and opportunities in managing successful digital out of home networks.

After initially questioning his motives to build a capital intensive DOOH network, I left very impressed with Pearl Media’s new network dubbed “The Feed” installed in New York’s Chelsea Market. The level of thought and pre-planning that Josh and his team put into “The Feed” became evident throughout his presentation. Even though the network only reaches 31,000 people a day, it’s clear that it reaches the RIGHT audience.

By taking a very strategic approach to network design, content, architecture, and overall implementation, Pearl has built a network model that can now be scaled to other locations that offer a similar audience profile. As he said multiple times throughout his presentation, Pearl’s focus is on the AUDIENCE not the VENUE.


As is always the case when Rishi Shah (above), Context Media’s CEO and Founder, takes the stage at an industry event, he highlighted his company’s operational success to articulate best practices that all DOOH networks should implement. When a DOOH network CEO says that his company is projecting $50 Million EBITDA for the current fiscal year, without taking on any outside investment, every network operator should sit up in their seats and hang on his every word.

Rishi spent considerable time talking about the unit economics behind his business, and how that data supported Context’s overall model for success. He illustrated the scalability of his core business while imploring all network operators to attempt to achieve the same.

Even though he is a venture capitalist who heads a digital place-based media company, Rishi commented that he has not made a single investment in the sector because most DOOH networks lack unit economics to make them investable.

Overall the event was a good one. Perhaps a little longer than it needed to be, but I think the educational content and networking opportunities made participation worthwhile for all who attended.

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