Digital Signage Content: Feeding the Beast

By Frank Kenna

Those of us in the digital signage (DS) industry are familiar with the phrase, “Feeding the Beast,” which refers to the insatiable appetite for a DS system that’s on 24/7.

Those just entering the digital signage industry will soon get to know it.  It works like this:  A manager wants a DS system for his company and decides to do it himself.  So he – and maybe his IT guy – orders a display screen, a computer and software to run it.  Once it’s set up and running, he excitedly creates a few pieces of content and posts them in his new DS.  And then the inevitable happens… the factory gets busy or he gets called out of town, or some crisis erupts or… well, you get the picture.  After a while, he starts to think of his DS as a bottomless content pit that he can’t possibly keep up with. And before you know it, the system is turned off or worse, displaying weeks-old information.

So how much digital signage content is really needed?  Here’s a simple formula we developed:

A.  # of pieces rotating = 6
B.  # of days in month = 22
C.  # of days exposure = 5
D.  # of pieces per month = 18.3
Formula: (C/A) x B = D

This example assumes there are 6 pieces of digital signage content rotating at any given time, that you want content to change only on business days (i.e., Mon. – Fri.), and that you leave each piece in rotation for 5 days.  Based on this, you’ll need about 18 pieces of fresh content per month. This also assumes that your DS will display only one piece of content at a time.  If you design your screen to have two frames, double the final number (D); if three frames, triple it, etc.  That’s a lot of content.

At Marlin, our approach is to help our customers create a foundation of content that they can then build upon.  For most customers, we produce about 44 pieces of fresh, animated, never-repeated content per month based on their industry.  The customer can then post just the important local information such as production metrics, recognition pieces and so on, and spend most of their valuable time running their business and not a DS system.

Our ECS is a turnkey product with content and unlimited local content creation included.  It’s built that way based upon decades of experience with thousand of our customers.  Whether you buy it from us or you do it yourself, feeding the beast is a consideration that everyone interested in DS should think about.

Jude Carter
December 8, 2011

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