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Digital Signage Glossary of Terms

With the constant whirling of words and terms flying around the quagmire and overlap in the digital signage industry, it is no doubt that you need to pull out a trusty play card from time to time for each segment of this industry. This is needed just to determine what everyone is talking about. This Glossary for the Electronic Digital Signage arena should help your linguistics and comprehension while navigating this segment of the industry.

By Lyle Bunn, BTV+

With the constant whirling of words and terms flying around the quagmire and overlap in the digital signage industry, it is no doubt that you need to pull out a trusty play card from time to time for each segment of this industry. This is needed just to determine what everyone is talking about. This Glossary for the Electronic Digital Signage arena should help your linguistics and comprehension while navigating this segment of the industry.

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  • At least this will get you into the conversation, but is likely to continue to morph as time passes. This list was created in December 2005 by Lyle Bunn at BTV+.

    Activation: A buying decision motivated at the point-of-purchase by such factors as buying convenience, price, promotion, impulse selection, etc.

    Ad Model: See Business Model

    Audience: In marketing, possible viewers of an ad. This is sometimes used loosely with the word “target” to suggest possible catchments of future buying consumers. The key word is “possible”. Some studies have indicated for example that only 7% of audiences are actually seeing TV and that 23% of time golf programming plays to an empty room. A study by the American Academy of Advertising noted that only 7% of TV viewers attended to a commercial break (6% ignored and 86% actively avoided).

    Brand: A simple, cohesive identity or consumer impression of a product, service or organization. Branding increases shareholder equity, allows for premium pricing, enables higher gross margins and allows for easier line extensions, and decreases business costs relative to equity achievement. Brands enjoy statistically higher Return on Investment (ROI). The key word is “identity”. Brand speaks about themselves in their position or aspiration to be dominant, challenger, rank or follower.

    Branding: The actions of gaining a favored view on the part of consumers for a product, service, organization or experience. These actions include advertising, merchandising, demonstration, education (consumers, sales staff, etc.) profile through media, events, etc., co-branding, etc. The measures of branding success include revenues, customer base, share of category revenues, category growth, awareness and perception of brand.

    Business Model: (see also Ad model, Venue Model): The costs of Digital Signage network are met in different ways. An “Ad Model” creates profit through ad display and sponsorship revenues, coupon redemption commissions and marketing intelligence sales. The costs in a “Venue Model” are considered by the display location provider (typically) as a cost of business or investment toward patron marketing, up-selling, or improving a wait, service or shopping experience. It is common to blend the two business models allowing the benefits of a Venue model with investment offset through sponsorship or advertising. Live private program display and distance learning provide benefit in the both the Ad and Venue Models. (See Resources section of

    Category: A product group that enables a point of reference or comparison with products or services that other similar value or experience of use.

    Channel: Script that has been published in such a way that when its contents change, the updated material is forwarded to machines running the viewer that have subscribed to the channel. Synonym: zone.

    Content: Media, clips, text, video and audio that is presented by display and audio devices by a digital signage system.

    Content distribution server: A computer, server, or device that stores the contents that are distributed to the player in the store. Synonyms: broadcast server, network manager, content management server.

    CPM: Acronym for COST PER THOUSAND (“M” is the roman numeral for 1,000). CPM is the costing unit used in mass advertising for calibration and comparison of display rates. The CPM level increases with the quality of the audience and scarcity of display opportunity. Display buys will often be bundled to include a range of more and less attractive display spots. This common practice in TV ad sales increases the overall display contract and “averages down” the CPM rate.

    Curiosity: An open-ness to having a new opinion. For consumers, the rewards of curiosity include getting higher value, bragging rights, having news value or product enthusiasm, or achieving an aspiration to be identified with the brand. Marketers wish to deliver these rewards through their marketing communications. Curiosity is the tap through which benefits can be mutually enjoyed by the consumer and the marketer.

    Display device: CRT, flat panel LCD, plasma, aerial imaging, projector or other electronic devices that are at the end-point of a digital signage system, presenting the content.

    Sign Elements Vehicle Templates

    Digital Signage: A network of digital displays that are centrally managed and addressable for targeted information, entertainment, merchandising and advertising. Also referred to as (synonyms): Dynamic Signage, Digital Signs, Electronic Signage, Digital Media Advertising, Digital Signage Network, In-store TV Network, Captive Audience Network, Narrowcasting Network, Out-of-home Media Network, Digital Media Network, Advertising Network.

    Demand: A desire for a product or service. A buying decision is based on brand identity and the impression based on previous purchases and experience of use.

    Effective: Greater output from the same or less input.

    Emotional Identity: The way a consumer interprets the identity of a brand

    Flight: The display of an ad or other content message on the display

    Footfall: Store traffic

    Intensity of Desire: “Desire” is not absolute. Creating intensity of desire which will result in revenues is the marketer’s job.

    Multichannel player: Outputs multiple streams of unique content to multiple display devices. Synonyms: site server, in-Store server.

    Need State: The condition of a consumer defining their receptivity to considering and acting upon a brand identity or trial opportunity. For example, when recuperating in from of a TV, a consumer needs different information to encourage intended brand perception than the information needed at a point of purchase to activate a sale.

    Organizational Alignment: Consistency of message content and tone across each delivery mechanism including executive and staff, ads, packaging, public and media relations, etc. each communications is either brand-building or “de-branding”. Inadequate product knowledge can de-brand (and lose the sale) when prospects arrive for purchase with more knowledge than sales staff. The passion and vision of the CEO is lost without communications to “the front lines” of customer service.

    Player: Presents content to the display device for presentation.

    Triggered Content: Media that can over-ride planned content when certain pre-determined conditions are realized such as the proximity of a shopper, removal of an item from display for examination or the reading of various inputs such as bar code, loyalty card, biometrics, etc.

    Playlist: a schedule defining the order and duration of content to be displayed.

    Playlog: Record of information created from the digital signage system reflecting the content played, the system performance and other data. Synonyms: billing log, performance log, audit Log.

    Program Revenues: When digital signage display and connectivity infrastructure is used to deliver live programming such as new product instructions, training, sponsored events, etc. , non-ad revenues are generated for the signage network owner.

    Re-evaluation: New perspectives and information can inspire consumers to change their perceptions. To cause re-evaluation is to seek change or reinforcement of previous perceptions.

    Recency: Timely, Relevant impressions

    Sales Lift: Revenue increase. Usually expressed as a % increase over normal

    Salience: Core relevant information. In addition to its relevance as a quality of content for selling or branding, salience can be a determinant and predictor of immediate trial and revenue growth. There is a “vertical” salience, which is a single individual’s knowledge of a brand, but also “social salience”. Salience becomes “horizontal” when information is exchanged between individuals.

    Trial: First purchase and use of a new product by a consumer. An essential step on the road to recurring revenues. A general rule of thumb is that a prospect will need to hear about a product 7 times before they trial.

    Turnstile: Total people entering a location.

    Trust: An element of the relationship between brands and consumers. Trust must be obtained if consumer trial and loyalty are to be achieved.

    Venue Model: See Business Model

    Virtual Private Network (VPN): A VPN is used in Digital Signage networks to provide secure, reliable connectivity as a private network but at much lower cost. Using a VPN the Digital signage network can operate outside of the internet or other organizational connectivity infrastructure to assure cost-effective, secure and reliable network operations at required levels.

    Lyle Bunn was the BTV+ Director, Digital Signage and Rich Media until July of 2006. He has published over 25 articles and Whitepapers on Digital Signage, presents at all primary Digital Signage events and is formerly Chair of the Education Committee, POPAI North America Digital Signage working group.

    The BTV+ ADvantage family of Digital Signage services includes each and all of the elements of a digital signage system that can be leveraged for branding success through advertising display, distance learning and business communications.

    For additional information about Digital Signage see: - RESOURCES

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