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C-store signage network focuses on scalability, measurement

Founded in late 2006, Digital Promo Network is a privately held company that places digital screens in convenience stores, then sells advertising space on those screens to the brands whose products can be found on the shelves nearby.

Company founder and president Jim Colony said DPN launched its initial pilot using entry-level digital signage software, but quickly came to realize it needed something more.

“We tried a smaller software company for the initial deployment, but after about four months we decided that they were great to work with, but they couldn’t demonstrate to us the ability to manage a network with thousands of sites,” he said.

Colony said scalability was and is his number one criteria for software to power the network. DPN currently has 200 screens deployed, another 500 under contract and plans to reach 2,000 by the end of 2008.

Making the decision more challenging was the need for flexibility and ease of scheduling content to each screen. Advertisers like Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay and Red Bull pay to be featured on the screens in rotating slots, but the products advertised need to sync with the products in stores.

“The content that we have is customized for each location,” Colony said. “If you think of a chain of c-stores that are in multiple locations, they may not carry the same things in all of their stores. So we have to make sure that if we’re advertising something, we don’t send an ad to a store that doesn’t carry it.”
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