Tightrope Media Systems Hits 25 Years In Digital Signage
December 15, 2022 by Dave Haynes
Happy 25th birthday to the folks at Minneapolis-based Tightrope Media Systems, which first started marketing what it called video billboard software back in 1997.
The software is now marketed as Carousel Digital Signage, but the company is still run by founder JJ Parker.
Digital signage is still a young industry, but it’s fun and intriguing to see companies hit quarter-century milestones. Some of the other companies that have been around forever include Capital Networks and Omnivex and Rise Vision in Toronto, and Scala in Philly. I know there are others who also trace back to the 1990s, before digital signage was THE dominant name. When I got into this business in ’99, the company I joined called what it was doing narrowcasting.
From a profile story on RapidTVnews.com:
The company first introduced video bulletin board and media retrieval software products in 1997. Within a few years, back when many PEG stations still relied on VHS tape, Tightrope established AxisCS (later rebranded as Cablecast) to manage emerging scheduling and automation functions that would help stations operate with greater efficiency. The company soon developed Carousel Digital Signage as a collaborative software tool for the K-12 education market. By the time digital signage began growing in popularity in the mid-2000s – due in part to the availability of affordable flat-panel displays.
Tightrope now comprises two dedicated divisions, Carousel Digital Signage and Cablecast Community Media. Carousel offers a cloud enterprise digital signage software platform with a dedicated Creative Services team, while Cablecast offers video delivery solutions for a variety of markets. That includes its core scheduling and playback solutions for PEG (public, educational, and government) channels, and growing cross-platform solutions for municipalities, schools, and businesses with self-managed streaming services.
Looking at the anniversary, JJ Parker, who co-founded Tightrope and continues to serve as CEO, credits the company’s longevity to its team values of compassion, clarity and continual improvement.
“Our mission has always been to help these stations, which usually have limited resources, serve their communities and become more sustainable and viable for the long run. Now that digital signage is a relatively mainstream product, Carousel has evolved to meet the needs of the modern market while staying true to our founding principles,” he remarked.
“It’s a lot of work to keep a tech company going and innovating for 25 years. When it comes down to it, having the right people in the company that are willing to think outside the box, take risks, and trust each other is what makes it all work. It is about creating a safe environment for teamwork to happen and collaborating to create products that make a positive impact on our customers.