Digital Signage Content Creation: The AV Integrator’s Missed Opportunity

It’s easy to work around the concept of selling boxes, but it’s enormously more profitable to be able to produce content to digital signage clients.

Jonathan Brawn

Whenever anyone considers the subject of digital signage, it’s far too easy to become consumed into the matter of technology. The whole concept of digital signage is based around using software, running on PCs, connected to a network, attached to displays… and after all, we are a technology based industry!

However, the main issue that makes digital signage so powerful is messaging. Messages that are relevant, delivered at the right point, can powerfully influence behavior in an audience. We can trigger someone to make a purchase, choose a specific product, increase the amount of purchases, direct traffic, draw attention, build brand awareness, provide a positive experience… the possibilities are impressive, to say the least.

That message, in order to have to be delivered, needs to be crafted into one of the most important aspects of digital signage: content. I would imagine that most people have heard the phrase “content is king” on more than one occasion. What I want you to keep in mind is that content is so important because it is truly is the vehicle used to deliver that intended message, making it the focal point of the whole system.

With that in mind, let’s discuss selling digital signage from an integrator’s perspective.

It’s easy to work around the concept of selling boxes—flat panels, mounts, media players, software licenses, network cables, installation—these are all extensions of what we, as an industry, have sold since the beginning. End users come calling, as they see digital signage out in the wild, asking to purchase systems that make such a clear impact. It’s straightforward to select a display size, mount, provide a CMS which will specify a media player… this fits within the same kind of system sales everyone is used to, right? Just multiply by the number of desired screens, and BAM, we have a system to sell.

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However, on each one of those screens, there needs to be content. That content will need to be refreshed frequently, so it does not get stale or lose its relevance. Multiply that by the fact that many systems need content tailored to fit the audience demographics and you have quite a bit of work there.

What does that mean for an integrator? Opportunity! I know, it’s outside of the realm of what most integrators feel comfortable with, but it’s a huge chance to build additional profit, and most importantly, recurring revenue. But many would argue that developing content is not something that they are able to do, it’s too difficult, and they don’t have any way to produce that kind of video… please, relax!

Good digital signage content does not have to be complex. In fact, it really has more in common with a good magazine or billboard ad with motion added, than it ever will to television style production. That means that many graphic artists can create content, and it should not be too challenging to find a good one.

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So what does this come down to? There really is a large opportunity for recurring revenue, at a high profit margin, which can significantly improve the bottom line of digital signage projects. The content development work has to be done somewhere, and the vast majority of digital signage buyers will not be able to create content on their own. I’m sure everyone flashes to thoughts of projects with national QSR or convenience store chains, or large retailers—sure, those types of clients will have art departments and marketing groups—but they are the exception, rather than the norm.

The average size of a digital signage project today is five to ten displays, and most buyers don’t have a sound content development strategy. This means that someone will have to do it, and you can become a true turnkey provider hitting all of the necessary bits to deliver a complete experience. It’s a powerful differentiator for your company; you’ll stand out against those who don’t.

Author Jonathan Brawn will present “Creating the RFI and RFP,” at DSE 2016 on Thursday, March 17 from 9:15-10:15 a.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more information on this or any educational program offered at DSE 2016 or to learn more about digital signage go to

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