Chicago’s TheBulletin Building Millennial-Centric Ad Network In Upscale Residential Blocks

April 7, 2021 by Dave Haynes

A Chicago start-up is using plain old TVs as digital bulletin boards in upscale residential blocks as a targeted digital OOH advertising medium, with some 500 screens in a handful of U.S. cities and a sales deal with another start-up, New York-based Screenverse.

Screenverse will manage all direct and programmatic sales across residential DOOH network.

Run by former algorithmic trader Aditya Ramani and agency veteran Thomas Schneider, makes the service free to building operators – with apps that run off smart TVs or HDMI streaming devices like the Amazon FireStick.

It’s not clear to me if the buildings get a percentage of the advertising revenue, which is a model that’s been around for decades, or if this is positioned as a free service that creates an amenity in the lobby or common area for tenants. I THINK the buildings have the ability to use the screens for announcements.

The screens show national, local and hyperlocal neighbourhood ads. Advertisers can cherry-pick locations and times or block-buy time across neighbourhoods, cities or the network. The network’s main footprint is Chicago, but TheBulletin is also in New York City, Washington DC, Boston, and Atlanta

The ad side is managed by Screenverse, a new DOOH service run by a couple of familiar digital signage/digital OOH veterans: David Weinfeld and Adam Malone.

Screenverse is managing and monetizing digital displays in several major cities, in essential retail, bars and restaurants, and office buildings. It has deals with nine networks, covering about 50,000 screens.

Part of the pitch is that Screenverse also sells ads for a recently launched office network, so gives advertisers the opportunity to reach young professionals seven days a week where they live, work, and play. Whether people continue to work from home, return to the office, or adopt a hybrid model of the two, marrying TheBulletin’s growing network with Screenverse’s national DOOH footprint enables advertisers to reach real people and real places, while delivering real results.

“The first thing we look for is whether a screen network is delivering value to its venue partners and audiences,” says Weinfeld, CEO of Screenverse. “We then look for whether there is a team in place that can manage the technical and strategic challenges that arise from standing up and then growing a national network. As we have gotten to know Adi and Thomas, we are convinced that they are world-class entrepreneurs and we believe that, together, we can build a world class media network.”

I was aware Screenverse was out there but was assuming this was another programmatic play, given that both Weinfeld and Malone are coming from that world.

But Screenverse is not just a platform for buying and selling. The company does media sales, advertising operations (like scheduling the ads and reporting), AND provides technical expertise “to own the end-to-end monetization of digital screens in the physical world.”

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