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Dave Haynes

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DDN Plans to Roll Out Massive Digital Signage Network with 7-11

The deal between the the world's biggest c-store operator and DDN would create one of the bigger digital out of home networks

Digital Signage Journal

There's a press release making the rounds today about a company called DDN - who you will have never heard of - announcing plans to roll out with convenience store giant 7-11.

The deal between the the world's biggest c-store operator and Digital Display Networks, Inc. would create one of the bigger digital out of home networks, anywhere, if it gets out to more than 6,200 stores in the United States and Canada, reaching an estimated 190 million monthly viewers.

The programming will have national and local entertainment news and weather, and a blend of house, vendor and third party ad spots running on two screens, with audio, in each store.

Well, that constantly repeating audio loop will make working at a 7-11 just THAT much more pleasant, won't it? Ugh.

This is a deal that has been around for all of this year, and I know the NYC-based guy charged with pulling the technical pieces together. He has been looking at software platforms for months and separating contenders from pretenders based on the criteria he's established. To my knowledge no decision has been made on technology, but if you are not yet aware of it, it is probably pretty pretty darn late to try to get in on it.

Choosing the platform is easy. Raising the money, particularly in this economy, is tougher. The people behind this deal are from outside the industry, from a company called City Explorer that runs one of the biggest in-hotel digital visitor information TV networks. It runs in over 150,000 hotel rooms in major cities in the U.S. and Europe, as well as on cruise ships, and in visitor information centers and airports. That company has been around since 1992 and everything it does is ad-supported, so they know a few thinsg about generating ad revenues.

C-stores are really, really tough environments because of the speed at which people are in and out of there. The only c-stores where I have seen people hanging around are those being robbed, or equipped with slot machines. Limited dwell times means short programming/ad loops, which somewhat restricts the media sales opportunity.

That stated, the people behind this have already been in the field testing and they are not like some of the dreamers I've come across, who have big aspirations but not a bunch of experience generating ad revenues. The DDN people have been pretty methodical so far, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether the network is up nationally by this time next year. Putting screens in 6,000 plus stores will cost a coupla bucks, and this is all on DDN's nickel

The big creative spots demo'd on the DDN Website look sufficiently big, bold and to the point. I would lose the weather and news headlines, though. Pointless stuff in that environment.

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More Stories By Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes is one of the most seasoned professionals in the still young digital signage industry, with deep experience in everything from business development and sales to technical operations, product development and start-up strategy and fundraising. These days he is extensively working on business development and consulting for an industry big on enthusiasm but still a lot short of experience and know-how.