Here’s The Global Ranking By Business Volume Of Digital Signage CMS Vendors
November 7, 2023 by guest author, Florian Rotberg
The German consultancy invidis is active on a whole bunch of fronts, from doing advisory work and putting on events to producing a German language publication covering the marketplace. Its big annual focus is a yearbook that does a deep dive into the industry – for the longest time focused on Europe but in the last couple of years also rolling in North America with contributions from Sixteen:Nine.
This guest post looks at the overall CMS market, and who are the main players. There MAY be companies in China that have a pile of licenses that we don’t, collectively, even know about … but that’s a hard market to grasp.
Here is what was established for 2023, between invidis and myself. I will stress there is some guesswork here and there, as most companies in this business are private and not all of them are overly keen to share key business metrics. So if you are not in there, and think you should be, well … we did try. We also got some numbers that looked a little big and made us think, “Hmmmm ….”
This is an assessment of the footprint/volume of software licenses for these companies, and not a ranking of what’s best.
The yearbook is a free download and well worth the minimal effort to grab and start to read through. It has some 200 pages of editorial content.
Guest Post: Florian Rotberg, Invidis
Most of the companies in our ranking are well-known players. But due to technological progress and changing software requirements, the old hierarchies are beginning to waver.
Current technology trends such as cloud, composable software or device management, the boom in retail media and the establishment of new visual touchpoint concepts are most clearly visible in this year’s invidis software ranking. The end of the pandemic created pent-up demand and led to the upgrade of existing networks. There are few new tenders and clean concepts so far – but the software requirements of retailers, companies and other B2B customers are already heavily influenced by post-pandemic trends.
invidis Rankings 2023: The current digital signage leaders
In addition to the ranking of CMS providers, we list the leading digital signage providers in each region every year in the invidis yearbook. In the Market Compass chapter starting on page 90, we also discuss the individual EMEA markets and North America. Download the 2023 yearbook in our download section .
Many are moving to service cloud platforms
First and foremost are the rapidly growing requirements for IT security certification. CMS platforms that are based on older software architectures have a disadvantage when it comes to meeting increasingly strict IT security requirements.
This is a key reason for larger CMS providers to develop new cloud-based service CMS platforms based on Amazon AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure in a greenfield process. CMS solutions on service cloud platforms offer many advantages such as scalability, security and speed in rolling out new functions. The vast majority of CMS providers have moved to a service cloud architecture – or are in the process of doing so.
IT security is necessary for acquiring new customers
Even established CMS providers are being replaced due to new IT security requirements that limit the competitiveness of legacy tech stack software platforms in the market. These ISVs typically continue to serve existing customers with less focus on IT security, but fail to attract new customers. A gradual exit from the market or a takeover by competitors are typical scenarios.
Certain environments remain on-premise
As always, certain exceptions to the rule apply in the current digital signage market. Instead of moving to the cloud, CMS providers must continue to rely on on-premise solutions for a few use cases. The most obvious are critical infrastructure applications in control and command projects as well as business critical applications such as shop floor signage and passenger information, for example in trains and airports. Telelogos and Deneva are European software providers with high business-critical and IT security requirements.
Consolidation of the market: ISVs are being bought by large players
The second major trend impacting the digital signage software market is consolidation. Integrators and pure ISVs such as Uniguest, Vertiseit – with its subsidiaries Grassfish and Dise – or Spectrio buy ISVs to strengthen their portfolio and capabilities. A large install base is key to spreading the cost of software development.
As a rule, an installed base of at least 100,000 active, recurring licenses is considered a minimum in order to be able to compete successfully. Certain exceptions to this rule apply to well-established ISVs with a strong unique selling point and a loyal customer base. A modern software architecture is non-negotiable for future growth, as it is becoming increasingly difficult to find software developers for older tech stacks.
The invidis CMS ranking 2023: the two big ones
The ranking is again led by Stratacache with 3.3 million licenses. With Scala, the world market leader in digital signage offers the only truly global software brand in the industry. More than 30 years ago, a group of Commodore developers in Norway pioneered digital signage and founded Scala; Today, the brand and a handful of other CMS solutions are owned by Stratacache, which is led by Chris Riegel, the industry’s most prolific CEO . It’s fair to say that not all of Stratacache’s 3.3 million active licenses are full SaaS. But the vast majority of the installed base requires annual service and update packages.
The second largest CMS provider is Samsung Magicinfo, which has grown from a small, simple signage solution to a full-fledged CMS suite. In the beginning, Magicinfo was often bundled with displays as a free add-on. However, as the range of functions increased, Samsung switched to a paid license model. Today, Magicinfo is cloud-based , IT security certified and only available as SaaS.
The real innovation, however, will be the successor platform Samsung VXT , which will come onto the market in 2023. The new platform is not only based on a modern technology stack, but also offers a wide range of remote device management tools that are becoming increasingly important for business-critical digital signage systems. It remains to be seen how Samsung VXT will be received by partners and end customers. Most likely, market offerings and go-to-market strategies will vary widely across the world. Nevertheless, the new platform has the potential to transform the industry.
Uniguest in 3rd place: The M&A champion
The third largest CMS provider is Uniguest, a provider of digital signage and digital engagement technologies with a focus on hospitality, patient and employee solutions. Uniguest has not stopped its M&A activities on both sides of the Atlantic even during the pandemic. The most significant transaction in 2022 was the acquisition of the hotel TV and hospitality specialist Otrum from Norway. With more than 800,000 active licenses, including platforms like Tripleplay, Uniguest rose to third place in the invidis rankings in just a few years.
SaaS licenses difficult to track
It has always been difficult to track the global software market in a notoriously opaque digital signage industry dominated by mostly smaller, regional players. This is even more true as new technologies are constantly being added to core CMS platforms. While device or content management capabilities are easy to distinguish, the actual number of active SaaS licenses is much more difficult to track.
This is especially true for ISVs like Navori, one of the most established digital signage providers that has been operating globally for more than two decades. Switzerland-based ISV provides digital signage software to hundreds of customers around the world and is particularly well established in Latin America and the Middle East. At a time when most competitors focused on their home markets, Navori was the only truly global digital signage provider alongside Scala.
Also unique to Navori is a significant proportion of white label customers who market Navori solutions under different brand names and regionally adapted business models. The installed base is most likely over 1 million, we believe the number of active licenses is between 500,000 and 1 million.
Another top 5 global CMS provider is Poppulo, the merger of US digital signage provider Four Winds Interactive and workspace app Poppulo. The two companies merged at the height of the pandemic in 2021. At the time, the combined companies were valued at an estimated $1 billion. The hype and reviews around new working and working from home have subsided, but seamless solutions for collaborating with employees and managing workspaces in offices flexibly are on the rise.
LG for the first time with a complete cloud-based offering
Another hardware provider in the invidis ranking is LG Electronics. Similar to its cross-town rival, LG started with a simple digital signage solution, LG Supersign, primarily as a promotional giveaway to boost display sales. The platform was continuously improved and LG positioned the solution as a complete CMS platform, especially when combined with WebOS.
However, ISE 2023 was a turning point for LG as the company unveiled a complete cloud-based software offering with six solutions for the first time. Dedicated solutions such as CMS, device management or hospitality platforms – all developed on a modern, fully scalable tech stack with a SaaS business model. The new future line-up offers interesting potential and seems well positioned to make an impact on the market.
Established and new players
Following is a group of digital signage providers with an installed base of more than 200,000 licenses. One of the fastest growing digital signage software platforms was CRI – the merged entity of Creative Realities and Reflect Systems. The US-based integrator counted 275,000 active licenses at the end of December 2022 and continues to grow significantly faster than the market.
France-based Telelogos is a typical digital signage champion, a relatively small family business that is growing in niche markets unnoticed by many. Since its founding more than two decades ago, Telelogos has developed into one of the world’s most important CMS providers, focusing on business-critical applications such as manufacturing solutions – with partner SAP -, the banking sector and corporate customers.
The leading DooH expert: Broadsign
Montreal-based Broadsign is another vertical champion with a world-leading DooH platform. Today, Broadsign offers a complete end-to-end DooH solution used by some of the world’s largest out-of-home network operators. The exclusive focus on DooH, some smart, bold acquisitions and the boom in programmatic and retail media have made Broadsign the leading DooH expert.
Vertiseit is a relatively young digital signage company compared to Telelogos or Broadsign. But Johan Lind’s team has managed to turn the small Swedish digital signage provider into a global top ten player in less than five years. The publicly traded company acquired eight digital signage providers focused on SaaS licensing and recurring revenue.
The most notable transactions were the acquisitions of Grassfish and MultiQ. Similar to Stratacache, Vertiseit converted Grassfish from partner to direct, while Dise offers software through partners. The combined company, with more than 200,000 active licenses, aims to become the world’s leading in-store experience platform in the near future.
Spectrio integrated acquired platforms
Recently, Spectrio has been a master of acquisitions. The Florida-based digital signage provider has acquired a number of competitors, most recently Ping HD in 2022 and Enplug and Screenscape in 2021. Since the summer of 2022, the company has moved from acquisition to consolidation mode with a new management team. The various CMS solutions are consolidated on a single platform while streamlining the organization – necessary steps before launching new transactions.
Two ISVs are new to the 100k+ Club: Visix from the USA and Easescreen from Austria. Both are united by a strong focus on corporate projects. This also includes a large number of licenses for conference room signage. E-paper based door signage has become very popular among small and large businesses since the end of the pandemic. While Easescreen sells exclusively through distributors and partners, Visix sells directly to customers.
The innovator and the specialists
Size also matters with digital signage, but it takes time to reach the 100k threshold. Some specialists will stay in their niche for good reasons. Intuiface is a case in point: the interactivity specialist offers a no-code platform that enables companies and agencies to create interactive experiences for digital signage and the web.
Both Intuiface and Signagelive are good examples of a consistent cloud-first approach. No one is adapting the latest service cloud features faster than the two European ISVs. A sometimes painful process for developers as it involves replacing their own code with standardized containers/micro-services introduced by the major cloud service providers Amazon, Google or Microsoft. Many in the industry are still hesitant, but Signagelive is a prime example of agile platform development. No one in the industry is faster at adapting their software solutions to the latest SoC platform versions.
Exclusive solutions for integrators
More than a handful of system integrators develop CMS platforms exclusively for their customers. Third-party integrators typically do not have access to these platforms. The global players include Mood Media from the USA, Coates from Australia – with its main customer McDonald’s – as well as Econocom, M-Cube, Visual Art and Zetadisplay in Europe. They all have dozens if not hundreds of customers and tens of thousands of active licenses. Mood Media and Zetadisplay operate close to 100k devices, while the other three have 50k or more active licenses.
Brightsign is the largest provider of digital signage media players and offers its own CMS platform. But only 10 percent of the installed base uses the provider’s Brightauthor CMS, the vast majority of integrators use Brightsign players with a third-party solution.
Beyond Digital Signage CMS
invidis monitors more than 1,000 CMS providers currently on the market. The vast majority are smaller startups or ISVs that lack the resources, capital and expertise to adapt their solutions to changing market needs.
A completely different category are Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs), which are channel independent and serve online, mobile, digital signage and other media. Combined with Digital Asset Management (DAM) platforms, they offer a very powerful alternative to media-exclusive solutions such as Digital Signage CMS platforms for Fortune 500 companies. Adobe is a typical case – with the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM). Although neither AEM nor the digital signage add-on Adobe Screen are as feature-rich as pure digital signage solutions, they often represent a “good” alternative.
invidis believes that DXPs have the potential to become increasingly important for very large, global digital signage projects. Typically, setting up DXP projects involves multi-million dollar consulting from professional services firms such as Deloitte, Accenture & Co.
It’s the device management, stupid
One category making headlines is remote device management solutions, also known as MDM platforms. The market and thought leader is SignageOS, which offers SoC-independent middleware for managing more than 100 different hardware platforms and dozens of CMS. As digital signage becomes increasingly business-critical, remote device management – ideally manufacturer-independent – is essential.
Display manufacturers have recognized the need for device management solutions: PPDS (Philips) has launched Wave and Samsung will introduce advanced device management with the new VXT platform. Unlike previous attempts by hardware vendors, the new platforms are very powerful and only available as a subscription.