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Campus Dynamic Signage Networks: Communications Value and New Revenues, Part II

In this second-part of the series, the inherent capabilities of Dynamic Campus Signage.

By Lyle Bunn

Dynamic Campus Signage Inherent Capabilities

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  • Campus Advertising
    The dynamic media industry has matured in three areas, which together offer substantial benefit to campuses.

    a) Many of the displays installed on campus may not have ongoing financial support for effective operations.
    b) Advertisers have recognized that the medium is an effective way to communicate to targeted audiences.
    c) The infrastructure required to enable cost-effective media planning, ad placement and payment processing.

    In particular, advertisers seek to reach a new generation of consumers, but are challenged in doing so given the out-of-home, mobile lifestyle of this younger demographic.

    SeeSaw Networks Inc. reflects that students are very attractive to advertisers because:

    • Not only do they spend money on themselves, their family and friends, but they also influence the purchases of the people around them. College students across the US account for about $170 billion in annual spending, and that includes their own as well as their parents' money.
    • By 2010, this Gen Y population will account for about 32% of the total population; they will be the next dominant generation of purchasing Americans. If they become loyal to a brand, they present an enormous lifetime value in potential revenue for that brand.
    • The majority of them grew up in dual-income families and that translates into more sophisticated tastes in clothing, dining and recreation. They also grew up in a media-saturated, brand-conscious world (i.e. they were raised as consumers). These attributes make them a great advertising opportunity for "entry level" luxury brands in particular.

    Research conducted by SeeSaw Networks Inc. and OTX Research indicates that awareness levels of digital signage are high for the 18 - 24 demographic and that it drives action for this audience, who are the early adopters of technology and new media.

    • 70% of 18-24 year olds are aware of digital signage that they have seen in the past 12 months
    • 27% of 18-24 year olds took an action based on the last time they saw advertising on digital signage

    The objective of Dynamic Signage is to serve communicators' and marketers' goals. It can strongly influence the way that a consumer experiences and is stimulated by the identity of the product, service or information being presented, as well as by the environment in which it is being presented. While actual results vary by situation, the following are performance benchmarks representing measures of impact that have been achieved.

    Post-secondary students comprise a population demographic called "Millennials." Members of this demographic group are very hard to reach through other media. According to Edison Research, from 2000 to 2010 they cut their radio-listening time in half as they became infatuated with the internet, cellphones and video games. They typically time-shifted their TV watching, and listening to their iPod rather than radio.

    Survey U presented "the characteristics of the Millennials demographic" at a conference in Toronto, Ontario in 2008, noting that:

    • This demographic group was born between 1982 and 2002.
    • Define themselves by seeking to correct for the recklessness of GenX including reinforcing community, bonding with parents/grandparents and making positive change.
    • Protected, pampered & prodded to succeed by a generation of hyperinvolved parents
    • The first generation in American history to exceed 100 million members
    • Multi-cultural / Multi-racial / Multi-lingual / Multi-media & Multi-tasking
    • The first generation to, as children, be more technologically advanced than their parents.

    Importantly, Millennials are at the beginning of a lifetime of major purchases (i.e. home, vehicle, vacations, recreation, etc.) and consumer brand selection and usage.

    Of this total Millennials population:

    • 20.5 million current college students in the U.S.
      • 17,063,732 are undergrads / 3,387,101 are grad students
      • 40%+ of those aged 18-24 attend college
      • 50%+ of high school grads attend college
      • 70%+ of high school students intend to attend college
      • 58% are female / 42% are male
      • 76% attend public / 24% attend private institutions
    • College students are more numerous than residents of any single state, except California, Texas and New York states.
    • The average cost of a year of college education is $14,000 for public institutions. $32,000 for private institutions.
    • Post secondary tuition and Room/board accounts for $333 trillion in annual higher education spending

    Millennials, in particular post secondary students are high consumers of technologies;

    In summary, the Millennials demographic is a hard to reach population by brands and the post-secondary population, which are commencing adult lifestyles and consumption represent an important population for marketers, recruiters, service agencies, institutions and government.

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    Improving Campus Safety
    Dynamic signage brings the opportunity to present a wide range of messages in a wide variety of formats (i.e. video, still and animated content). It best serves campus interests (per previous section A2) when non-campus funding supports technology and operating costs.

    It commonly occurs that the capital investment for the technology infrastructure including displays, media player, software and installation is inadequately supported by ongoing operating budgets for content creation, playlist administration and other functions needed to gain highest returns on the infrastructure investment. This can result in the decline of the use-ability and value of the dynamic campus signage network over time.

    This lack of operating funding also means that the time/effort needed to generate possible revenue from the network are not realized.

    A downward spiral of display system value, offset only by the providing of ongoing, internal operational funding is realized. This further impedes the addition of displays that could allow then system to better serve campus communications goals.

    Improving Campus Life
    Campus communications and the quality of the campus experience are improved when fresh, relevant messages are presented related to campus safety, information, activities, values and services.

    When technology infrastructure is not maintained, or messaging becomes "stale", the relevance and effectiveness of the dynamic media erodes.

    In a worst case scenario, the network is not available when required for critical uses such as mass notification and alerts, and the under-used dynamic media network has a de-branding influence on campus, even suggesting a broader level of poor maintenance and dis-repair of campus facilities.

    Supporting Campus Sponsors and Friends
    Many enterprises contribute to the success of campus operations and student life. May of these would like, and would pay for the opportunity to provide campus messages. Some examples include:

    • Public transit
    • Food services providers
    • On campus stores (books, ticket sales, technologies, apparel. etc.)
    • Sponsors of campus teams
    • Local and future career employers
    • Nearby hotels, car rental, attractions, events, stores, restaurants, etc.
    • Providers of financial, communications and technology products and services that can improve student success and campus life.

    Dr. Lyle Bunn (Hon.), Principal and Strategy Architect, BUNN Co. - Lyle Bunn has been recognized with an Honorary Doctorate for his significant contributions to education and the development of the Dynamic Place-based Media industry. He is one of North America’s most highly regarded independent consultant, advisor, commentator and educator to investors, operators, suppliers and users of Digital Signage and Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) Media. For more information visit

    Stay tuned for Part III of Campus Dynamic Signage Networks, where Lyle Bunn explains revenue potential, including approach, new revenue, and some simple actions.

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