Update: Who’s The Largest Network Of Them All?
February 26, 2018 by Dave Haynes
The other day I put out a post looking for guidance on what are the largest digital signage networks in the world, and the feedback I’ve so far received amounts to variations on: “Yeah, good luck getting that ….”
A small handful of vendors have provided guidance on what they do, but generally, few people want to pony up information about their networks.
The big reasons are:
- big brand clients don’t let their vendors talk about them;
- vendors don’t want to provide guidance to competitors.
Both explanations make some sense, but only some. A vendor quietly telling me they do __,000 players in a QSR chain has tons of plausible deniability in it, and is not really giving away the goods. I also think there is more benefit than risk for vendors to note they power 1,000s of players in large-scaled networks.
So here’s the beginnings of a list, based on what I know and estimate:
Focus Media – (China) – Supplier – In-house (I assume) – Est. 220,000
The 15-year-old Shanghai company has an LCD display network aimed at business environments, and in-store TV network, and screens in cinema. In the old days, many of these screens were updated by “sneaker-net” – but it is likely many to most are now IP-connected and updated. The company says all the business screens have NFC tags.
Outcome Health – (US) – Supplier – In-house: Est. 145,000
The Chicago-based digital OOH company has screens and tablets in the waiting areas and other patient touchpoints of medical clinics across the United States. The company website says 145,000 touch-points, but the number of addressable devices running on the network is, I think, roughly 150,000. It’s a monster by any measure. The company has seen a significant amount of upheaval in the last few months, but that has not yet affected the scale of the network.
McDonald’s – (Global) – Supplier – Multiple: Est. 80,000
There are some 16,000 McDonalds locations in the US and Canada and more than 35,000 globally. Digital menu boards are very common in North America, and likely so in much of the world. Conservatively, if 20,000 stores each have four addressable players driving displays, that rolls up to 80,000. I think the number is probably much higher, particularly as QSRs start adding drive-thru screens.
YUM (Taco Bell, KFC and others) – Supplier – multiple – 80,000 players
Globally, these QSR brands have maybe 80,000 players driving menu displays.
Gas Station TV – (US) – Supplier – In-house (I think): Est: 72,000 players
GSTV puts digital OOH screens on gas pumps and has 18,000 locations across the US. Conservatively, four equipped pumps per station means 72,000 addressable displays. The real number is probably higher.
TouchTunes – (US/Canada) – Supplier – In-house: Est. 54,000
Run in Montreal but with HQ in New York, TouchTunes has 54,000 digital jukeboxes in bars and restaurants that had ad screens associated with them. These are borderline digital signage/digital OOH products, as the jukeboxes exist to play music but happen to open up the opportunity for advertising on the screens. They would not be there in those numbers if they were just digital OOH posters.
French National Lottery – Supplier – Unknown – Est. 31,000
Française des Jeux is the operator of France’s national lottery games, and there are screens in some 31,000 retail points of presence.
Tim Hortons – (Canada/US/Middle East) – Supplier – Cineplex: Est. 20,000
There are some 4,600 locations of the coffee/bakery chain, most of them in Canada, but also in the US Northwest and, weirdly, in Dubai and several other large cities in the Middle East. The standard feature set is a digital menuboard array with four screens, and then in Canada many stores have 1 or 2 informational screens in the dining areas. So, assuming most stores have the menu boards and a percentage have the info-screens, that would put the number around 20,000.
Captivate – (US/Canada) – Supplier – In-house: Est. 12,000
Captivate puts screens in office tower elevators as well as larger screens in some office tower lobbies.
JC Decaux (digital OOH – global)
Burger King (QSR – global)
Wendy’s (QSR – global)
Ontario Lottery (Canada) – approximately 10,000 players/screens at retail
Loto Quebec (Canada) – think roughly the same as Ontario
Tokyo Lottery (Japan) – About 5,000 IAdea players in retail, running Scala
Westfield Australia – Scentre Group – 1,360 displays
The mall operator has digital OOH ad displays running across three-dozen properties, using Esprit Digital’s street furniture screens, with Samsung panels.
London Underground – Supplier – Exterion Media – 1,720 players/displays
Digital OOH ad network across 21 London Underground Stations,using Esprit Digital’s street furniture screens, with Samsung panels.
Walmart has more than 300,000 screens, but while some of that is end-caps and screens at places like the cash lanes, a big chunk is TV walls, meaning one player feeding dozens of screens. Same is true for Costco and Target.
As noted in the comments, there are several tablet-based networks that have massive footprints, including pay-at-the-table solution providers like Ziosk (170,000+), E la Carte, OTG (iPads in Airports), and Buzztime (70,000+). I think it is a reach to call them digital signage networks, so I’m not including. They’re something else first.
I assume there are ad networks running in places like Seoul’s subway system (which has scores and scores of stations) and other networks around the globe that are huge, but need help here. Use the comments or send me private notes via email.