TouchSource Monetizes Office Tower Directory Screens Via New DOOH Media Network

March 15, 2021 by Dave Haynes

A Denver company that has long focused on providing touch-based directory technologies to commercial property owners and operators has taken the interesting step of rolling up the screens as a DOOH media network.

Directory screens in office properties are now part of what has been dubbed the TouchSource Directory Media Network.

Says TouchSource in launching the network today:

Property owners recovering from the economic impact of the pandemic face dual challenges?tighter budgets following reduced rents and intensified competition for tenants. That has led visionary owners to accelerate investments in tenant and visitor experience, including sustained building hygiene and safety measures. To aid customers in facing this new business environment, TouchSource has launched the TouchSource Directory Media Network. The Directory Media Network is a service that delivers tenant listings and compelling infotainment along with relevant sponsored content.

When the digital directory is awaiting use, sponsored content rotates within the mix of listings, building messages, health notices, news, entertainment, sports and other content. By adding the Directory Media Network to a TouchSource directory, building owners and property managers can reduce the cost of their solution and upgrade visitor experience and building appeal.

The Directory Media Network includes more than 10,000 premium locations across North America, and has seen rapid early adoption in key cities including Dallas, Houston and the Denver Metro areas.

With reduced staffing at facilities and visitors who prefer to self-navigate buildings, digital directories have become a must-have amenity. Cheap-looking paper flyers, flimsy stanchions with printed placards and posters might have seemed like a reasonable way to adapt early during the pandemic. But having passed the one-year anniversary of the crisis, property owners who cut corners now face a major disadvantage as the market races to win new leases from choosier tenants. Winners in the post-pandemic battle for tenants have been upgrading to premium lobbies, easy-to-update and manage directories, dynamic messaging boards, and self-service directions as top post-pandemic amenities.

“Property owners have a tough job post-pandemic,” says TouchSource CEO Ajay Kapoor. “They need to visibly showcase improved safety standards in buildings and upgrade their amenities to keep and win new tenants. And tenants’ expectations are higher than ever. That’s why so many customers added digital directories and wellness kiosks to their properties during the pandemic. Now, the race for new tenants is heating up as the world re-opens. Owners who can deliver a seamless, self-service, mobile-enabled directory experience are leading the pack. That’s why we launched the TouchSource Directory Media Network. It empowers building owners with more options to innovate while keeping costs under control.”

The company has partnered exclusively with Screenverse to monetize the screens through media sales. “There is a need for advertisers to adapt their communication strategies (again!) as people head back to work, school and play. The ability to reach people as they move through the world is a compelling element of digital out-of-home media, and why advertisers are excited to engage with professional audiences via the TouchSource Directory Media Network,” says Adam Malone, Co-Founder of Screenverse. “Together, TouchSource and Screenverse offer a creative and simple way for building owners to do more with less while providing valuable content and information to tenants and visitors.”

Malone, ex of DoMedia, started that company with another industry veteran David Weinfeld, who most recently was with Vistar Media.

TouchSource does smart digital displays and IoT-powered kiosk solutions.

I could be entirely wrong, but am guessing Captivate has some sort of digital OOH media exclusive in the skyscrapers where it has screens installed. That would maybe block media sales or stir up conflict about who can sell ads in a specific building where Captivate operates. Captivate started as elevators but also does lobby media.

But, Captivate’s footprint is a small subset of the overall US and Canada commercial real estate market and there are a lot of small to medium office blocks out there. It would appear to be a smart move to address building owner concerns about the capital and operating costs of digital directories. Pre-COVID, maybe those costs were a big whatever, but any costs got more attention as the pandemic took hold, offices emptied and tenants started asking about lease exits and sub-lets.

The revenues from media sales will not make or break any building, but if the ad money covers or substantially offsets the costs of the software, equipment and upkeep, that’s probably a happy consequence for the building manager.

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