The Digital Billboard Network
2018 Finalist

The Digital Billboard Network

Oahu Publications, Inc./Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Honolulu , United States

Category Best New Corporate Innovation Initiative

Overview of this campaign

In 2017, Oahu Publications’ most notable and innovative idea was to develop an entirely new type of profit center. The result was creation of a new out-of-home media product consisting of an integrated network of in-store digital billboards located in high consumer-traffic locations.

Screens vary in size from large wall-mounted units to space-efficient displays conveniently attached to single copy mobile merchandising units. Utilizing Phoenix Vision, Inc.’s proprietary SiteView system, cutting-edge facial detection technology allows each screen to measure and report the number of times content is actively viewed by each individual consumer while also providing basic qualitative data on viewer gender and age-bracket.

Content consists of continuous seven-minute “loops” of daily news briefs, point-of-sale messaging from the screen location’s host and third-party advertising, usually in the form of fifteen second commercials. Today’s Wi-Fi technology also allows content to be customized by screen network so advertisers can buy system-wide or choose to be placed in specific retail chains etc. Screens have audio capability while some feature close captioning when the environment requires. 

Smart businesses identify a demand, and then create the supply. In today’s rapidly evolving media landscape, advertisers are searching for new mediums to replace continually declining television and radio audiences. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser took notice that many clients had existing video commercials created for the rapid proliferation of social media but insufficient channels through which to utilize them. Thus, OPI created an entirely new medium capitalizing upon recent technology advancements and the market’s continuing interest in out-of-home media.

DBN leverages the Star-Advertiser’s pre-existing network of publication distribution racks located in desirable, high-profile consumer locations across the market. Combining this asset with a legacy of business relationships, launching and expanding the partnership network with Hawaii’s largest retailers has been a relatively quick and smooth process.

Results for this campaign

Within the first six months of launching, the Network is approaching $100,000 in monthly incremental media revenue, mostly (over 85%) from non-traditional newspaper advertisers.  The daily audience of the entire Digital Billboard Network now rivals that of a local radio or television morning show and statistically the system is a top-five broadcaster in the State of Hawaii. Incremental revenue in excess of $1.2 million is projected during this first year.

Securing over 45 advertisers in less than six months, DBN has become a successful new profit center supporting the core publishing business. Already enjoying substantial growth since launching, over $100,000 of monthly incremental business was added to the bottom line.

Newspapers today can only grow and prosper if their parent companies are growing and financially healthy. Creating a new profit center like DBN is just the latest innovative step The Honolulu Star-Advertiser has taken in the past eight years to ensure that Hawaii residents have access to the best news, features, editorials and commentary.  


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