As if it weren’t enough that digital technology has turned everything on your computer, from software to online stores to music, into media — digital technology is rapidly turning everything in the “real world” into media.
THE HOTTEST FORM OF DIGITAL media on Madison Avenue isn’t online. It’s out-of-home. Digital out-of-home networks are popping up virtually everywhere: in stores, in theaters, in health clubs, in office buildings, and perhaps most importantly of all, on media planning flowcharts. The new networks, a subset of the outdoor media industry that is sometimes referred to as place-based television, are growing at a rate of about 10 new per month, according to a new report being released this week by marketing consultants Profitable Channels. The report estimates that the 700 digital out-of-home networks launched since 2002 will account for $1.2 billion in national ad spending this year, making it the size of a major network TV daypart.
“The 700 number is probably low,” says Stephen Diorio, a partner at Profitable Channels, and the author of the report. “It’s a lot like when all the dot.coms were coming out. Anyone with a venue and a good audience is launching something and calling it media.”
In fact, digital out-of-home networks are popping up everywhere from high-rise elevators to gas station pumps to public rest rooms, creating new places and states of mind for marketers to reach their consumer and business prospects.
It’s not enough for advertisers to bid for every moment of your attention while you are sitting in front of a computer screen. Now advertisers want to bid for every moment of your attention EVERYWHERE YOU GO — on the road, in the 7-11, at the gas station, in the restroom. There’s nothing that you pay attention to that can’t be transformed into a form of media. Word-of-mouth marketing has even turned people you meet at a bar into a form of media.
Remember that freaky advertising-saturated future that Tom Cruise navigates in Minority Report?
The future is now.