March 2007

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Broadcaster Uses Digital Signage Technology

Televisa received the directive from Mexico’s Wal-Mart to place display screens throughout each of their 300 department stores, exposing the multimedia advertising to a monthly audience of 50 million people.

David Wiseman

David Wiseman
Senior Marketing Writer
Minicom Advanced Systems

Grupo Televisa is the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world and a leading participant in the global entertainment business. Televisa wanted to be the first broadcaster in the world to utilize digital signage technology for creating real time in-store advertising with the intention of increasing store sales.

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This would also enable Televisa to form new relationships with brands that tended to steer away from traditional mass media. Televisa received the directive from Mexico’s Wal-Mart to place display screens throughout each of their 300 department stores, exposing the multimedia advertising to a monthly audience of 50 million people. But first there would be a pilot program to assess if in-store advertising via digital signage actually made an impact.

There were three objectives for harnessing the new technology, Axel Vera, Digital POP Operations Director for Televisa said. “Improve general brand awareness, sees a sales lift and as promotion and product information.”

Televisa’s first attempt at distributing the multimedia content from player to screens was disappointing. Standard coaxial cabling saw poor results and shaky images. The images couldn’t travel long distances and when they did they were of inferior quality. Looking for an alternative distribution solution and after much research Televisa turned to Minicom.

“We turned to them as their long range CATx and optical fiber systems give you the freedom to create any digital signage application network,” Vera said. “They also have modular solutions that fit your exact project requirements and budget.”

The CAT5 Video Display System was the ideal solution to Televisa’s image quality problems. The use of Video over CAT5 cable technology allowed for a simple, clean installation. Besides being flexible, the new system is also more maintenance friendly.

Televisa’s hopes for player to screen distribution were exceeded with high quality multimedia images transmitted over long distances without image degradation.

The products also had the advantage of being able to reach every corner of every Walmart store without losing signal strength or compromising on audio or video quality.

A pilot test was staged in six stores on each of the three different types of store formats WalMart has in Mexico. 40 screens were installed in two of the 18,000 square meter Supercenters, 20 screens were installed in the two Bodega stores and 10 screens were installed in the two Superama stores.

Saul Mishaan, President of Sales for North America outlined the strategy for the installation. “To support the 40 screen installation on the pilot test, we had one broadcaster distributing content to 40 remotes connected to 40 separate screens with some of them at up to 100 meters away from the content player. We used three splitters per store in this case. The national roll-out will use three channels per store with three broadcasters installed to three content players and we might not use splitters on the first phase.”

“The installation was swift and simple,” Vera said. “The crew in charge of installing the products were even able to do it without any training or previous experience, they don’t even speak English.”

“The use of Video over CAT5 cable technology allowed for a swift and crisp installation,” Mishaan said. “The one-to-many, point-to-multi-point systems allow for the transmission of rich multimedia real-time content from any type of player to multiple displays as well as extend displays up to 110m/360ft from the player/computer.”

Televisa and Walmart were both thrilled with the results. The high performance and strategic location of the digital screens resulted in increased sales of the advertised products by up to 8% per month.

“Thanks to the new digital signage display network, products advertised have experienced a growth on their brand awareness by the shoppers and in some cases significant sales increases,” Vera said.

Part of the success was due in part to the different approach Televisa decided to take. Instead of POP advertising, Televisa built a digital circuit and narrowcast the content throughout each store. Content was tailor-made for each store format and the installation included a number of screens behind the tellers for customers to watch while they are waiting in the checkout lines.

“We want the digital signage to complement the efforts of the advertisers on typical advertisement like TV,” Vera said.

. “We individually set up each screen so whenever it was needed, we could swap cables to deliver different content to each screen by only adding a new content player without the hassle of moving cables at night from the original installation or cabling the store again,” Mishaan said. “We even transmitted a real time soccer game by just connecting a ViewSonic TV tuner instead of the Media Appliance. No cable modification was needed from the original installation.”

Following the success of the pilot, the program was rolled out nationally at 110 Supercenters and 190 Bodega stores with an average of 25 screens on the former format, 17 on the latter one with three different video channels per store.

User friendly system set-up allows the flexibility of adding additional screens in the future. Surveys confirm that shoppers now have a superior shopping experience resulting in higher customer loyalty.

In the almost one year since the installation was done, no maintenance of the network or on any of the components has been needed.

About the Author

David Wiseman is the senior marketing writer of Minicom Advanced Systems. Amongst his many duties include the overseeing of Minicom marketing collateral and he is responsible for the creation and publishing of the Minicom digital signage blog.


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