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Digital Signage Growth to Propel Marketers into Orbit

Aug 17, 2007
Imagine you were an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. On a clear day you look to the earth below at the exact moment your celestial home zips over Manhattan. As you gaze down at the New York City borough, you are stunned by what you see: an enormous sign covering about 75 percent of the landmass of the borough reading "Come Home Soon! We Miss You."

This out of this world scenario is exactly what would happen if it were magically possible to position the viewable area of all the flat panel displays produced in 2006 next to each other over the landmass of Manhattan. Incredibly, that translates into 16.8 square miles!

The figure, part of the DisplaySearch's Q4'06 issue of its "Quarterly Worldwide FPD Report," underscores how dominant flat panel displays are becoming. According to DisplaySearch, the number of flat panel displays shipped was expected to rise 6 percent to 3.4 billion. (Remember, there are a lot of laptops, cell phones and other handheld devices that use LCD flat panel displays.)

The report estimates that flat panel TVs accounted for 33 percent of all televisions sold in 2006. In this country, with the government mandate forcing set makers to include DTV tuners in their sets kicking in next month and the introduction of legislation in Congress mandating retailers, broadcasters, and cable and satellite operators take steps to educate consumers about the impending analog switchoff, the demand for flat panel TVs is only likely to accelerate further -especially given the falling price of these flat panel sets.

In 2006, consumers got more display for their dollar, especially when it came to LCD sets. The price of a square meter of LCD display fell 32 percent year over year in the third quarter of 2006, according to the report. Not surprisingly, the amount of LCD viewing area shipped grew 54 percent in the same period. That helped to propel LCD to the lion's share of the flat panel display market, accounting for nearly 86 percent of all flat panel viewing area shipped, said DisplaySearch.

Plasmas accounted for 8.5 percent of total flat panel display area in the third quarter '06. Year over year, total plasma display area shipped grew 56 percent as of Q3 '06.

The implications of the DisplaySearch statistics for those wishing to use flat panels to meet their digital signage display requirements are significant. For marketing departments needing to justify the expense of digital signage systems, falling prices should make the task a bit easier.

More importantly from a strategic point of view, the rapid acceptance of flat panel displays by consumers means marketing messages played back on digital signage networks don't look out of the ordinary. They fit into the video mainstream. To consumers, they look just like television, and after all in today's world isn't TV the arbiter of reality?

The downside to the growing presence of flat panel sets in the homes of Americans is that the displays are becoming ever more familiar. Some of the mystique may soon begin to wear off. However, successful digital signage network operators, like their TV counterparts, know that ultimately content is king. As long as digital signage content compels its audience to stop, watch and take a desired action no amount of flat panel familiarity can stand in the way.

Ultimately, it is compelling content on these increasingly ubiquitous flat panels that will help marketers and advertisers using digital signage to influence the public to take the actions they desire. Resulting sales should be out-of-this world.
About the Author
David Little is a digital signage authority with 20 years of experience helping professionals use technology to expand their marketing messages with alternative media. Visit http://www.keywesttechnology.com and find how you can expand your marketing horizons. For further insight, download my free white paper Why Digital Signage Works.
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