Loop Media Rings NYSE Opening Bell As It Builds Free Digital Signage/DOOH Footprint In US

February 16, 2023 by Dave Haynes

Linkedin regularly has giddy photos of groups of business people surrounding the boss as she or he rings the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and a recent one caught my eye, as the firm is in the DOOH media networks business.

Loop Media develops and supports a series of curated music video and branded entertainment channels for business venues, providing a free play-out box and content and, in return, running third-party advertising in between the content. The company has offices in LA and Seattle and says it has some 200 channels of content on offer.

It’s very similar – though I am sure there are nuanced differences – to what Austin, TX-based Atmosphere does. Loop says it has 30,000 “active screens” in venues like bars/restaurants, office buildings and retail businesses, but also has extended reach on free ad-supported TV platforms like Roku, TIVO+, Plex, DistroTV, at local gas stations on GSTV terminals and in 400,000 hotel rooms in over 1,300 hotels in the US – presumably way deep into the guide where you find streaming music channels, and virtual aquariums and fireplaces.

Loop, says the company, is fueled by one of the largest and most important libraries that includes music videos, movie trailers and live performances. Loop Media’s non-music channels cover a multitude of genres and moods and include movie trailers, sports highlights, lifestyle and travel videos, viral videos and more. Loop Media’s streaming services generate revenue from advertising, sponsorships, integrated marketing and branded content from free-ad-supported-television (“FAST”) and from subscription offerings.

In an interesting twist, the company doesn’t appear to be making any promises about the service being an incremental revenue stream for venues – a pitch made many times through the years by venue-centric DOOH media companies. In many to most of those cases, the potential for big dollars from a share of ad revenues was rarely realized by operating networks. In this case, Loop instead has a rewards program that involves cash, pre-paid Visa cards, gift cards or even charitable donations.

It looks like Loop uses little Android set-top boxes as its play-out device (Atmosphere used Apple TVs, which are also, technically, set-top boxes).

The NYSE bell-ringing thing was to mark the company being listed on that exchange. Going public requires companies to release detailed financials, so we can can see that in the last quarterly filings revenues were up almost 400 per cent and the installed base is growing. But being in growth mode usually means a lot of spending, and the company had a net loss of $5.3 million in the last quarter.

“Although we are currently navigating a challenging environment with lower levels of ad spend from companies and agencies,” says CEO Jon Niermann, “we have our sights set on a successful fiscal 2023 and the long- term growth of our business as we execute on our various strategic initiatives. We plan to continue ramping our Loop Player distribution, expanding our partner network, increasing our direct sales efforts and delivering new content offerings as we capitalize on our leading position in digital out-of-home advertising.” 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, with numerous companies chasing the hospitality with free offers, and theoretically squeezing out generalist CMS software companies that provide a platform and templates, but not a steady stream of free content. The counter-argument is that these streaming services tend to limit the amount and type of on-premises marketing, as well as control over content, whereas a low-cost CMS gives venue operators the ability to run a full-time messaging and promotion display or displays that sell appetizers and drink specials and support supplier needs.

The free content and players in bars and similar venues has been tried endlessly over the last 20-25 years, rarely with success. But the landscape is very different now – with cheap, reliable players available, high speed Internet all but ubiquitous, and out of home a far more accepted and planned medium. Activating is also far more simple for devices, negating the need to send out a tech to do it (labor costs for that can exceed the costs of hardware).

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