Why Content Is King in All Digital Signage

August 05, 2011

 

And here I am back at this argument again. I'm sure I read some blog that tried to convince me that technology, or ROI, or objectives are the king of digital signage.

So I'd like to settle this once and for all. I have yet to see anyone beat this reasoning.

There is one reason why content above all else in this industry is king.

Money.

Bottom line. Content makes it. Nothing else does.

Technology does not make money. TVs, wires, computers, hardware, software - these are expenses that comapnies must incur to do a better job of selling to the customer. Not a single customer ever has walked by a screen and said, "WOW! THAT WAS COOL! Now what kind of wiring do you suppose is behind that TV that makes that ad pop up there? Because I have GOT to get me some of THAT!"

Technology is important, but it doesn't make money.

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I know you'll say, "But without technology, you don't get to show your good content." To which I say, "I know, but without content, I don't make the money to buy the good technology." And let's be real honest here. Technology is a commodity. The difference between content and technology is that if my content doesn't work, I can't just go down to the local electronics store and replace it.

ROI? You know the saying, "Garbage in, garbage out." ROI only works if you have made the investment. Every year we see dozens of awards shows for the best content - movies, TV shows, soap operas, theater, music. . .Do you ever see awards for the "meh" content? For the 2nd place stuff? No. And you will never see a content producer on stage thanking Samsung TVs for making his content look so pretty. You have to invest in great content to get a return.

That return, by the way, is what buys the technology.

Strategy? Objectives? Nope. Content dictates strategy; you don't have a strategy without content. Regardless of the time and effort you put into strategy, you simply will not know what works until you put it in front of your audience.

I'll give you an example: When I was at Best Buy, I used to run clips from The Office on the home theater program. People loved them. One clip in particular had a scene where the fire alarm goes off. With several dozen TVs playing in the store, it sounded like a real fire alarm went off. I received dozens of emails from store managers who kindly (okay not so kindly) asked to have the clip removed.

Strategy: Don't play clips with fire alarms = new strategy = better content.

The common lesson when building things - strategy, programs, digital signage, is to begin with the end in mind. The end is a happy and motivated viewer. The question is, "How do you motivate them?"

With great content.

Where do you get great content? From the money the viewer gave you.

You can't sell if you can't compel.

And that is why content is, and always will be, king.

[Image: David Kozlowski]