The business and technology behind place-based broadcast networks in retail stores
Retail television networks arguably began in the 1970s, when several grocery retailers began showing pre-recorded advertising and informational content on in-store televisions. While the basic goals may be the same, today’s in-store TV networks enjoy several advantages over their predecessors, including nearly instantaneous content updates, schedules customized for each department, and robust proof-of-playback reporting.
When integrated into an existing cooperative (“co-op”) marketing program, a well-designed retail TV network can prove informative to consumers and lucrative for vendors and host stores alike. Most in-store TV solutions can be adapted to work with standard televisions or flat-screen monitors, and can utilize an existing or dedicated network for remote content delivery. Some of these products can also be used to manage other in-store devices, such as interactive kiosks.
The best-known provider of in-store media networks is arguably PRN, which handles everything from hanging the screens to selling the ad space. There are also hundreds of smaller players who represent variations on the basic theme, with many firms adopting a regional or vertical market-oriented focus. Some retailers have also created and managed their own networks, utilizing third parties as needed for the technology platform and logistics, while handling the ad sales themselves.
Retail TV networks are often used to display time and location-based promotions on various types of displays, such as plasma screens, LCDs, or even standard television monitors.