A whole bunch of startups have through the years, tried to crack the restaurant and bar business with a digital out of home advertising model that saw them put in screens and media players, hoping to claw back the costs, and more, through advertising.
And a whole bunch of them – most of them, in fact, have failed. Advertising is hard.
So I was intrigued by a three-year-old Chicago company called UPshow that is doing user-generated content and digital signage in bars, and making a go of it on a subscription basis – with no third-party advertising. At least for now.
The bar owners – from small ones all the way up to chains like TGI Fridays and Hooters – actually pay money month to month for the service. The owner/operators like that UPshow’s content is fresh, and human moderated, and that customers are engaged. They also like that it is selling more drinks and specials, and generating return business.
I spoke with Matt Gibbs, the company’s CMO, and one of its co-founders.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 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, on Canada’s east coast.