Big Disty Almo Acquires Longtime Content Partner Insteo

July 17, 2018 by Dave Haynes

Philly-based pro AV distributor Almo Professional A/V has acquired “certain assets” of Insteo, the Long Beach, CA content and creative shop.

Almo has been tight with Insteo and its CEO/Founder Jim Nista for several years now, and the deal formalizes an arrangement that makes Almo capable of offering what can be lucrative digital signage content services through its partner channel.

“The acquisition of Insteo gives us the ability to greatly advance what we can offer our partners in terms of expanded platforms, including Insteo’s proprietary cloud signage,” says Sam Taylor, Almo’s EVP and COO. “Almo partners can also customize their content for each install and at the outset of every project based specifically on size, scope and budget. Because we now have an entire team of experts on staff, we can offer an expedited quote and project management process with increased responsiveness.”

Taylor says in a press release that the acquisition geographically extends Almo’s reach, as well. “In addition to the U.S., these services can be accessed throughout Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean, and we have plans for expansion.”

He adds: “Through Jim Nista’s visionary insight and success as the founder of Insteo, this acquisition solidifies our leadership role in the creative content arena with new platforms and other exciting developments on the horizon.”

Nista would have been critical to this deal, and will now carry a acrd that says senior director of Content Creation Services, Almo Professional A/V.

“Together over the last year, Almo and Insteo have expanded partnerships with AV integrators, IT service providers and traditional print sign shops to help them grow their content and creative services for digital signage,” says Nista.  “Almo’s position in the industry as the largest distributor and a leader in managed services makes the acquisition an ideal next step for partners to offer complete digital signage solutions, increase revenue and become more competitive.”

Here is a 2016 podcast interview with Nista:

The Almo deal gives Nista the heft, reach and resources that have been largely unavailable to his company, which started out as a marketing agency but has, for the last several years, largely focused on HTML5-based, template-driven content for small and medium businesses.

Nista is one of the smarter guys in the digital signage business and his little company had won a pile of content awards and pushed the technical envelope within the industry. Though not actively marketed as something to compete with commercial CMS platforms, Insteo has long had an Insteo Display CMS platform capable of supporting and managing templated content applications like menu boards, directories, interactive wayfinders, and digital bulletin boards. That content also runs on other platforms and technologies, from smart displays to BrightSign and IAdea boxes.

It’s a smart move for Almo and good news for Nista, who was hinting at a deal when we caught up a few weeks ago at InfoComm. Almo formalizes a new line of revenue and, possibly/probably, recurring services dollars. Nista gets business security, marketing muscle and reach.

I’ve pointed a few acquisitive companies at Insteo in recent years, and am a bit surprised it took this long for a company to see the opportunity presented here. The displays, the players, the management software – none of that matters without content, and it’s crazy how small the content creation business is within this industry.

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