Digital Billboard Network is a new technology providing news media companies with an eye-catching platform for advertising videos. It’s also an impressive revenue maker for Oahu Publications.

“We designed a product that has a TV screen attached to a newspaper rack — but it also has its own computer and it has a site view, which gives you visual detection of somebody’s gender and their age category,” David Kennedy, chief revenue officer of Oahu Publications, explained at the INMA E3 Subscription Models Summit. This allows them to provide reports to both the advertiser and the retailer of who saw the ad.

What’s amazing about the technology, added James Avis, vice president of the company, is that it actually transforms a newspaper company into a broadcaster: “We’ve had immediate success of presenting to a lot of clients who we weren’t doing any business with.”

The clients discussed wanted to target the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, which their newspapers were not reaching.

“We had about 20 different pitches; we were looking for 15 initial advertisers — and we immediately sold out our first network,” Avis said. “And the money came out of TV budgets. We call it the TV money stealer.”

There are many layers to the Digital Billboard Network, but its developers feel it is an immediate success story for any other newspaper that wants to launch something similar. “I’m very confident that would happen to them, as well, no matter what market,” Avis said, pointing out that they themselves are a small market, based in Oahu, Hawaii.

“On the money side, the racks are what we call a Trojan Horse,” Kennedy added. “You also want to try and put the screens up on the walls inside the retailers, which we’re starting to do as well. We monetise the screens [on] the racks at about US$1,000 per screen. For the screens up on the walls, it’s about US$3,000 per month.”

It’s a very simple model today, though it took them months to get to where they are today, Avis said. The key is that advertisers are only paying about US$0.20 per view, which is an “amazing deal,” according to Kennedy.