A New Zealand startup called DROPIT has an interesting sports engagement app designed to keep fans involved in games during breaks, instead of staring at their phones.
It’s a reverse auction application that’s tied to scoreboards and other digital signs around sports venues, with fans encouraged by the big screens to bid for luxury items like sports cars and motorbikes in 60-second auctions with countdown clocks. Fans bid off their phones.
The company has a distribution deal with Daktronics and in the US, has a three-year deal with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.
DROPIT, run by two brothers, just got a big $1 million funding round and is looking beyond sports venues to shopping malls and their many screens, large and small, as another home for their application.
Many of the business models for digital out of home ad networks have been laughable, but a New Zealand-based network is finding success with a business model built around laughs.
The Giggle Entertainment Network has screens in 1,200 locations across New Zealand – running a one-hour repeating programming channel that’s built around jokes, funny tweets, video clips and images.
“We understood that the model of adverts on screens was a very shaky one,” says founder Del Shaw, “for the main reason being: ‘Why do you expect me to watch a screen of scrolling adverts? The screen gives me nothing back.’ At Giggle, we do endorphins!”
“We came up with a format,” adds Shaw, “that harvests wait times, by utilizing constantly updated humour to draw you back to the screen, and keep you engaged every time you return to the location.”
The company puts the screens in free of charge in cafes, gyms, bars and waiting rooms – recovering the costs through ad sales. Unlike most digital OOH networks that install in third-party sites, Giggle does not do a revenue share of ad proceeds. The venues can get insert in the ad list, says Shaw, but most are just happy to have customers entertained.
Giggle has “saturated” the markets so far installed – aiming to get a screen in for every 1,000-1,500 people in the market. The idea is to make the screens a normal part of the lives of people, wherever they go day to day.
In another interesting wrinkle, Giggle is franchising the model to local markets – who develop new sites and sell local ads, while head office sells to national advertising clients. The company uses built-in-house control software, and most sites get either 43 or 55 inch screens, though some sites have 10-inch countertop displays.
The content is all produced in-house, “keeping it all G-rated,” says Shaw, “so not to offend viewers.”
The company has been around for nine years, and having penetrated much of the Kiwi market, Shaw says he is now “looking for international partners that may be interested in our system for other countries – after all who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh!”
It’s an interesting model. You have to be impressed with programming and pitch strong enough to get venues signing on with NO revenue share, as that can often be 10%-30% of the net, and the reason so many of these kinds of networks have failed, historically.
I also like that the content is all original and tuned to the medium.