Managed Services Firm Velocity Acquires Grocery-Based DOOH Network Impax Media
October 16, 2020 by Dave Haynes
The managed services firm Velocity has gone into one of the vertical markets it serves by acquiring the small, grocery-focused Digital OOH ad network Impax Media.
A Montreal company that bubbled up about five years ago, Impax does in-store advertising to shoppers at the checkout aisles at 49 grocery stores in the New York City area.
“This purchase,” says Velocity in announcing the deal, “expands Velocity’s media solutions portfolio within the retail sector to provide its customers with a comprehensive suite of managed services to run a digital signage network and advertising solutions.”
“COVID-19 has made it very tough for businesses to return to normalcy. However, the grocery sector has never been more of an essential business as shown by the resiliency of the foot traffic during the pandemic. We look forward to continuing to expand our portfolio into the grocery and retail markets, and enable new opportunities and solutions for our customers,” says Greg Kiley, Founder and CEO of Velocity.
“Impax Media programming includes grocer messaging, in-store sales, entertainment and advertising. Velocity is partnering with Screenvision Media, a national leader in cinema and premium video advertising, to serve as a strategic seller of Impax’s ad inventory. Impax is the latest addition to ‘Front + Center Everywhere,’ Screenvision’s expanding OOH network, that is designed to reach the highly engaged consumer beyond the cinema experience.”
“Grocery stores and shoppers have become increasingly more attractive to endemic, as well as national, regional and local advertisers. We are looking forward to working with our Impax retailers and strategically exploring expansion within the grocery sector to enhance the shopper experience and the grocer’s revenues,” says Joe Ross, EVP of Sales and Marketing of Velocity.
A privately-held company with approximately 500 employees, located outside Toledo, OH, Velocity has 13 redundant data centers and access to 5,500 certified technicians around the U.S.
From the company boilerplate description: “With an in-house team of seasoned software development and engineering experts and numerous hardware and software design and utility patents, Velocity offers highly customized, customer-focused and best-in-class solutions, by integrating the latest technologies available into all its product offerings. Through its media solutions division, Velocity manages digital solutions within the cinema and retail, and Digital Out of Home (DOOH) networks, and is a member of the DPAA.”
I know almost zero about either of these companies, and at less than 50 stores in one metro area, this is not a big network or big deal. I am guessing, but thinking there is more to the story here. the website goes to a GoDaddy page, the Twitter handle hasn’t seen activity in two years, and so on.
The pitch of the company was it the tried and rarely-true formula of putting screens in for free, selling ads, and splitting the revenues with the host venue. It has rarely worked out for the entrepreneurs.
Capital costs for the build it and they will come DOOH media model have dropped a lot over 20 years, but this network’s schtick was/is, in part, screens on custom pivot thingies that swing down and act as lane gates for closed checkouts. Custom = $$$$$.
There’s also not much of a story to tell about companies that are all about installing and managing technology knowing anything useful about media sales and the very different lexicon of advertising and brand marketing people. It’s kinda like a plumbing supply business managing an art gallery.
Media sales have been subbed out toNYC-based Screenvision Media, which DOES know media sales, but would likely be in a world of pain right now because their key vertical market is cinema, and not a lot of people are doing movie nights through the pandemic.
Impax talked a big game out of the box several years ago, but the results speak for themselves. Makes you wonder how Cooler Screens is going to be any different.
My local grocer has these screens at checkout. All but 1 screen is off and the one that is showing content is showing news items that are 2 or 3 years old. Store has stacked product in front of some screens and has taped sheets of paper with messages on on others. An expensive fail. A real shame.
The photo above the headline says a lot, Dave: none of the shopper-audience is watching. This deployment looks excellent on paper – grocery, point-of-purchase, zero-moment-of-truth, resilience vs COVID, etc. But like many deployments I’ve seen, I think it’s challenge lies in that old, real-world and real-life OOH measure: Opportunity-To-See (OTS). Given the size of the screens, you won’t have as great an OTS approaching it; closer to it – as those people in the photo are – they are just installed too high; people would have to look up to get an OTS – and they likely won’t. Perhaps, it’s time to reframe in-store media offerings, to refocus not on the hardware, but on the store itself as media, offering multiple points of customer contact on their journey to the checkout counter, including audio, shelf-labels, and checkout screens – all doing their respective bit to inform and encourage purchases along the way of the customer journey. I think in-store media has to be re-thought, from just spots to campaigns with multiple points of customer contact. I certainly agree in the potential of in-store; but to realize that, it would take more than just sticking a screen at the checkout counter. And for this to happen, it will take consolidation on the media provider side, and a buy-in from the grocery owner side – both tough to accomplish, but I think necessary, if we really want to see in-store deliver for all involved: the media (campaign sales), the grocery (product sales), the advertiser (product sales and branding), and the consumer (relevant information).