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If You Ignore Digital Signage Content Creation, You’re Missing Out on Big Bucks

Almo senior director of digital signage content creation Jim Nista says content creators are stealing work from pro AV integrators, but it’s not necessary.

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Digital signage is becoming an ever-present part of life in places we probably never expected, but there’s one area that many of the businesses who are welcoming video walls into their lobbies don’t always consider: digital signage content creation.

Jim Nista, senior director of content creation services for Almo Professional A/V, says the content is at least as important as the screen on which it runs.

“Clients are investing in technology to communicate with their viewers,” said Nista during a session at the Almo E4 AV Tour stop in Boston. “That can be selling their products, informing their guests or educating their employees.”

Because more clients than ever want digital signage as part of their technology upgrades, that means AV integrators need to be ready to supply the content that runs on that signage, says Nista.

While some larger AV integrators such as 2016 CI Integrator of the Year Diversified have their own in-house content creation teams, most must find regional partners that allow them to win those jobs, he says.

Almo’s recent acquisition of Nista and his Insteo team means there’s a staff of 10 content creators at the disposal of Almo members, he says, and that could be a boon to both integrators who are struggling to meet that demand and customers who don’t always realize how tough content is to create and maintain.

“At the end of the project, however you get there, you want the client to be smiling,” says Nista. “Half of the project is content and the other half is the integration. The client just assumes that part is working.”

Digital Signage Content Creation Sales Tips

Selling content services comes down to categorizing what the digital signage is used for, strategizing it by understanding the goal of the signage and understanding the client’s budget, says Nista. Digital signage is used for both informational and advertising purposes, he says.

Digital signage content creation used to be about popping a slideshow onto a video board, says Nista, but it’s become a lot more complex than that. Today’s digital signage includes data-driven applications, predictive analytics, biometrics and facial recognition, he says.

One of the big decisions when it comes to digital signage content creation is whether the client wants to do it themselves or ask a content creation team to do it for them. The “do-it-for-me” approach includes training staffers on how to use the signage and ongoing support of all their needs, he says.

Custom content creation can mean a 25 to 100 percent markup on the project quote, says Nista. Adding basic support can mean anywhere from $25 to $75 per media player per year and enhanced support could mean $200 or more per player per year.

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Content maintenance could be good for another $500 a month or more, says Nista. Integrators should always try to push to add content creation to any job, he says.

“Always ask them ‘who’s doing the content?’ and get them a quote,” says Nista. “You win more by quoting more.

“The amount of money left on the table by not offering content services on digital signage projects is pretty huge. You might even run the risk of losing the client to a content creator who decides they’re going to get into integration too.

“There are a lot of content creators morphing into integrators and they’re taking work away from integrators who can’t create their own content or don’t prtner with someone who does,” he says.

The fall portion of the Almo E4 AV tour ends Oct. 25-26 in Nashville. Click here to register.