Evolution of Digital Display Networks: From Print to Digital

In the 1970’s, a new form of out-of-home advertising medium started arising. Small Business owners started using pre-recorded videotapes that displayed their advertisements right in their store. While the using a VCR and display seemed like a simple concept, it was catching people’s attention and more businesses starting to implement it as a marketing strategy.

When the DVD came out in 1995, it revolutionized the way information could be displayed. As computer software became more intuitive, the video production process became more flexible, efficient and affordable. Video, images, graphics, text and music became easier to combine into a logical format. Burning multiple DVDs was much easier than recording on VHS which allowed mass production of the same display advertisements. This allowed a more efficient way to standardize display advertising.

This idea became more and more used throughout schools, restaurants, hotels, retail and many other industries. As the quality of layouts and design became better with time, there was more opportunity to capitalize on this medium.

From DVD to Digital Signage

While DVD use for digital signage was an innovative step in the right direction, there were major flaws to the formula. If a company has made multiple DVDs to display the same information, they could not make any changes to the content without having to burn a fresh batch of disks. This was a very expensive and time consuming process. There needed to be a way to be able to update displays on the fly.

With the advent of the Internet browser, cheaper bandwidth and cheaper displays, and software able to control everything, it was possible to manage a network of displays remotely. Some call this collection of capabilities digital signage. These networks enabled a new opportunities for the way companies were able to manage their content.

Not only is this method more efficient and cost-effective than using DVDs, but it also allows the businesses to optimize the displays to please the customer. If a consumer dislikes any aspect of the content, it can be changed instantaneously.

Today, thanks to the explosion of social media and mobile handsets, there is a strong reason to have digital display networks also incorporate some user-generated content (with filtering capabilities). When the end-user is able to able to feel connected to the product in a social sense, the advertisement sticks with them. Not only do they feel like they are a part of the product, but valuable data can be gathered from the participation.

The trend is towards increasingly large participation of the users in the digital content on digital displays, thanks to the blazingly fast dispersion of mobile handsets and smartphones. Additionally, some consolidation (as happened in history with many static poster companies around 1900s) is inevitable in today’s digital display network landscape. Many dynamics are fluid, yet the digital display networks are here to stay and their reach and impact is growing everyday.