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Narrowcasting Networks as Additional Revenue Streams

Jul 29, 2008
The term 'narrowcasting" refers to the distribution of multimedia content - pictures, moving images or animation and sound - to arrays of monitors in specific locations, or even to individual monitors. Evermore frequently arrays of monitors can be seen in waiting rooms, in office lobbies, in public transit and in elevators - virtually anywhere people congregate - narrowcasting mixtures of infomercials, news, feature stories and advertisements to so-called captive audiences. These narrowcasting networks - whether they are to an individual plasma or LCD monitor, or to a whole array of monitors - typically serve one of two purposes, each of which is designed to increase revenues.

Firstly, narrowcasting networks can be used as vehicles to deliver advertising and marketing for products and services sold at a particular location. For example, in a dentist's waiting room short segments touting new developments in cosmetic dentistry can highlight new revenue-generating services and products offered by the dentist. As narrowcast networks become more sophisticated, marketing content can pinpoint the products and services that are promoted based on such factors as the time of day, day of the week or the month and season, all depending on the metrics of the viewing audience for the particular network.

At the opposite side of the narrowcasting network spectrum, are networks set up in staging areas, like waiting rooms, lobbies or even sports arenas, where there is a more-or-less captive audience who can be enticed to watch advertisements interspersed amongst short news and entertainment pieces. Advertisers are increasingly buying advertising spots on such dedicated narrowcast networks to promote their clients varied products and services. Again, the more focused the demographic audience, the more specifically the ad content on these networks can be focused. Depending on the metrics of the viewing audience such localized advertising can command a premium price. Such networks can provide significant additional revenue streams for the building or venue owner who operates a commercial narrowcast network.

An interesting mixture of these two predominant models for commercial narrowcasting is found in the retail petroleum industry. On gas pumps across the globe, motorists queuing up to fill their tanks watch monitors that are activated at the beginning of the fill up. During the three or four minutes the customer is filling up or topping up the tank news, sports and entertainment items are interspersed with clips advertising value-added products and services available for purchases, as well as advertisements for varied products ranging from financial services to travel promotions.

The flexibility of narrowcasting in the petroleum industry not only allows a particular audience (i,e,, motorists) to be targeted, but it allows the owner-operators to hand tailor their marketing message for the time of day, season, weather and a host of other variables. In the morning, coffee and breakfast sandwiches available inside the service centre can be promoted. On sunny days car washes can be featured, and during the fall and early winter anti-freeze and snow tires can be promoted. For service centre operators, gas pump narrowcasting represents offers a not-altogether unique opportunity to increase revenues by boosting sales of related products as well as by generating revenue from marketing and advertising third party products and services.

As advances in digital advertising software technology and improved audience metric techniques allow advertisers to focus their messages on target audiences, narrowcast advertising will only increase. Businesses and service providers of all stripes have the potential for adding to their company's revenue stream, or adding additional revenue streams by marketing for third party advertisers, by setting up narrowcasting networks wherever a "captive" audience is found - whether that is in an airport lounge, at the gas pump, or in a doctor's office.
About the Author
For more information on narrowcasting and other digital merchandising products please visit EK3 Technologies Inc. at http://www.EK3.com or call 1-866-353-8324 to learn more about business solutions and services that capture your audience and deliver your message.
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