2021 – A(nother) Year in Review!

2021 – A(nother) Year in Review!

2021 – A(nother) Year in Review!

Adam Malone, Co-Founder & President at Screenverse

Here we are again. The second annual Screenverse Year in Review!

No-one could have predicted this!

When we founded Screenverse in April, 2020, we expected that COVID-19 would persist for some months, maybe a few quarters, but the disease would be contained in due course. Soon the dams would be opened and people would flow through the world as they always had, while advertiser demand would follow close behind.

That is not, in a few words, what happened.

Luckily for us, we set out to build the Screenverse digital network and business as a financial adviser might compile a basket of assets – stocks, bonds, real estate – for her clients. We were very purposeful in the partnerships we struck with network owners, we followed audiences, sought counsel from demand partners, and invested in data, technology, and talent that would help us minimize risk and maximize reward for our partners.

How’d we do..?

Market Report:

2021 was another unsteady year for OOH; especially for anyone who owns or sells media that isn’t narrowly defined as a Billboard.

Data published by the OAAA shows that not only did the overall industry revenue shrink considerably from 2019 highs, but the percentage of revenue earned by Billboard owners skyrocketed, from 63.8% in 2019 to 84.1% through the first half of 2021.

The other side of that equation saw Street Furniture, Transit, and Place-Based Revenue-Shares contracted significantly. Place-Based media owners were the hardest hit, as they saw their share of the pie evaporate from 11.5% in 2019 to a paltry 2.8% in the first half of 2021.

While it appears to me and others that the back half of 2021 was a little better for Place-Based media owners, it is clear that the first money spent in OOH is going to Billboard owners and, if stock prices are any indication of financial performance, the publicly traded Billboard owners in particular.

According to analysis done by Billboard Insider, the three public OOH companies all outperformed the S&P500 in 2021.

There were some other bright spots, of course, as the programmatic platforms had banner years, leveraging their growth to attract fresh capital to develop their business lines and technologies.

Vistar Media Raises $30m in Series B Funding

Place Exchange Closes $20m in Venture Funding

AdomniDOmedia, and OneScreen.ai all raised 7 and 8-figure funding rounds this year as well.

While the technology providers are seeing their value propositions born out in real time, there has been innovation and consolidation on the media side as well.

Atmosphere raised $100mm to continue its expansion

Octopus Interactive recently sold its ride-share tablet business to T-Mobile

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and while many believe it necessary for the OOH industry to standardize its universal measurement currency to attain new levels of growth and market-share, 2021 was a step sideways at best.

I wont belabor the drama this year between Geopath and OAAA. There are well-founded arguments for whether the proper metric should be “likely to see” or “opportunity to see” when adjudicating OOH impressions. What is clear to me is that a universal impressions standard is an “opportunity” that will “likely” deliver real value that will move the needle for OOH advertisers and media owners alike.

Will Epicenter or Comscore assert themselves with powerful datasets and thoughtful methodologies (at reasonable prices!) to fill the void?

2021 was a year of growth for Screenverse.

  • We grew our Team => 10 new teammates
  • We added new Partners and Inventory => 6 Partners and ~42,000 Screens
  • We grew Sales and Revenue => +4.5x YOY
  • We were Profitable again this year and grew EBITDA => +50% YOY

“Our Success comes down to our People and Partners” – David Weinfeld

Our People:

We were blessed this year to add 10 new people to our team!

We started the year with a bang by Acquiring the Danaher Group and in so doing adding senior sales, marketing, research, and operations leadership in Susan DanaherVictor Germain, and Taylor Chiulli. In July we added two west-coast sellers (LA, and Denver) who know how to build digital media sales businesses in Susan Jaget and Tim Kennedy. After adding all of that sales talent, we needed to fill in our technical and media operations team to balance our services and prepare ourselves to scale. We were excited to welcome JunkoL.A., and Morgan in October, along with our VP of engineering, Erik Osmond, who is helping us centralize and enrich our data, tie together the systems we use every day, and giving our clients new levels of insight. Finally, in late December we offered Phil Donahue the opportunity to lead our midwest sales efforts.

We are committed to caring for, investing in, and developing our people. This year we offered full health benefits, 401K matching program, and authorized ongoing education benefits for the full team. We also created an employee stock options program that will reward our teammates as the business grows in value over time.

[We are hiring for multiple positions in sales, sales planning, engineering, marketing, and research — please reach out to us at careers@screenversemedia.com for more information!]

Our Partners:

We are betting on the growth of On-Premise and In-Retail:

Our big focus from the beginning has been to build a leading on-premise digital advertising network in essential businesses; Retail Grocery, Big Box, Pharmacy, and Convenience. In 2021, we secured new partnerships in Grocery, Pharmacy, and Point-of-Care to double down on our offering to advertisers who want to engage shoppers in healthcare environments and influence consumers at the point of care and the point of purchase.

Another pillar of our network is the TouchTunes digital Jukebox network. It is the largest digital network in Bars & Restaurants in North America and it is an absolute on-premise juggernaut. Available in all 210 DMAs, we can reach almost any audience and do so with both precision and scale! We saw hopeful signs in the Jukebox usage data in the summer-time and around key sporting-and-cultural events, but some markets have been slow to open and advertiser perceptions have hurt demand for on-premise advertising even as traffic and sales data have returned to pre-pandemic levels. Advertisers are leaning in to NFL playoffs, March Madness, and appear to have “priced in” a fully open economy by early-spring 2022. We’ll drink to that!

Enlighten – one of the nation’s largest Cannabis Dispensary network – is a perfect compliment to TouchTunes in reaching active and influential millennials. Both networks are age-gated and deliver 21+ audiences in brand-safe environments. As more states move to full Marijuana legalization and more research is done on the “Cannabis consumer”, the more interest and activity we expect from mainstream advertisers. We have already booked major campaigns in 2022 around the 420 “holiday” season, and leading brands in entertainment, DTC products, delivery services, and healthcare are connecting with their audiences via the Enlighten network — and this is just the beginning!

We are getting in front of Urban and Young Professionals where they Live and Work:

Advertisers are clamoring to reach Millennials, Gen Z, and Urban Professionals who consume way less ad-supported media than other demos. No-where have we seen more of a shift in consumer behavior than in this audience. This year we worked hard to find partners who offer 360 degree access to this coveted audience, at scale.

Two of the most exciting developments in 2021 were our partnerships we launched with high-end Residential and Office lobbies via theBulletin and TouchSource. We know now that the future of work is going to be a mix of work from home and go in to the office. Why not develop a media network that reaches urban and young professionals every day, no matter where they decide to work?!

We got out there in the Real World!

Finally, 2021 was our year to truly extend our offering from digital place-based, to digital OOH, to digital media in the Real World.

Our partners at SPIN, Smartify, and Corner Media significantly invested in growing their networks of 55″ street-level portrait displays in major US markets. These screens are big, bright, and represent new and impactful inventory in markets like DC, LA, and Miami where traditional OOH media is scant or inaccessible for many advertisers. We will also soon be announcing an exciting new partner in the EV charging space – a company who has deployed dozens of charging structures featuring 75″ landscape screens – and has plans to rapidly deploy many more charging stations in 2022. Watch this space!

2022 Outlook:

As we look ahead to 2022, there seem to be more questions than answers.

We face many challenges that will affect our businesses:

  • Will Supply Chain issues persist, affecting advertiser demand as well as inflation?
  • What will happen with Interest Rates and the broader capital and consumer economy?
  • Will Digital Buyers and Omni-channel DSPs mold DOOH in their image?
  • How will new capital, startups, and consolidation reshape the industry?

There are are many MORE reasons to be optimistic about what 2022 will bring:

  • Our Industry has smart, awesome, people who know how to be resilient in tough times.
  • There is pent up demand for services, events, and experiences around which [D]OOH campaigns flourish.
  • The discussions around cookies and privacy will put a premium on [D]OOH media that delivers targeted audiences in relevant environments.

Most of all, we are grateful for the opportunity to build a business in such a dynamic and interesting world!

We look forward to working with new Partners, Customers, and Team Members in 2022 and beyond.

Phil Donahue Joins Screenverse

Phil Donahue Joins Screenverse

Phil Donahue Joins Screenverse

OOH Today

Screenverse Inc. announces the hiring of Phil Donahue to be its Midwest Sales Director. Based in Chicago, IL, Mr. Donahue is an award-winning DOOH professional, having worked at Starcom Worldwide, Health Club Media Network, WSJON, and ZOOM Media before joining Screenverse.

Mr. Donahue is no stranger to innovation in DOOH. At Starcom, he and his team won Adweek™ OOH Media Plan of the Year for a Morgan Stanley campaign that brought real-time Dow Jones Industrial Average information to street-level media in NYC. He launched the first major international DOOH program at ZOOM Media that incorporated custom content in the US, Canada, and the UK. Mr. Donahue sees “acceleration in DOOH innovation and a decrease in transaction friction via automation and new technologies. The lack of friction will optimize programs across placements, timing, and content.”

Mr. Donahue sees great opportunity at Screenverse as “the company combines scaled and complimentary national DOOH networks with technology that minimizes transaction costs and optimizes placement and content adjacencies. It is an incredible opportunity to work with people with this kind of vision.”

Screenverse CEO, David Weinfeld, sees Phil as the perfect fit, “Phil’s digital out-of-home experience, knowledge and expertise is an incredible asset to our team, networks, and brand partners. He embodies the type of professional we want on our team; someone who is smart, driven, and dedicated to delivering great service to our partners. Knowing we have such a strong team member guiding our growing Midwest business, makes me even more excited about what’s in store for Screenverse and our partners in 2022.”

Screenverse added ten members to the team in 2021 and is actively recruiting for positions in engineering, marketing, sales, tech/media ops, and sales planning. The Screenverse team is fully remote and offers competitive compensation, full health benefits, 401k matching, stock options, and a fun, competitive, and empowering culture.

 

DTC Holiday Advertising Hack=Digital in the Real World

DTC Holiday Advertising Hack=Digital in the Real World

DTC Holiday Advertising Hack=Digital in the Real World

David Weinfeld, Co-Founder & CEO at Screenverse

To try to get into the mindset of a DTC brand marketer heading into the holidays, I scrolled through Instagram, over the course of a few days, and wrote down every unique DTC advertiser that I encountered. I captured a list of nearly 1,000 DTC companies.

From fitness equipment to vegan snacks, furniture, shelf-top appliances, gift boxes for the holidays and everything in between, I have come to realize how difficult it is to run marketing for a DTC brand today. Advertising on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook feels like a zero sum game. There are so many different DTC companies competing for a finite and fleeting amount of attention. With such enormous demand, there’s no surprise that Facebook ad prices are increasing exponentially.

On the battlefield of attention, if every DTC brand is using the same megaphone, how can a company possibly stand out?

The answer has to be for DTC brands to reach their target audiences in the real world. I’m not advocating for DTC brands to suddenly eliminate their Facebook and Instagram ad spending. I believe that  augmenting social ads with digital video in the real world will make a brand’s Instagram ads that much more effective.

While DTC brands have historically used out-of-home for massive subway dominations and Times Square takeovers, I believe the greatest opportunities for these companies to stand out are in place-based digital video networks. Location and environment provide incredible context to advertise a DTC brand.

Take a digital network like theBulletin that places screens in luxury apartment buildings and high-rises in major cities. These screens are the ideal canvas for DTC brands to enhance their marketing across every other channel. Digital in the real world is a tool to exponentially grow a DTC brand’s megaphone.

Why not break out of the mold of the standard DTC marketing blueprint and carve a path that is cost-efficient, scalable, and complementary to every other digital advertising channel? Advertising where consumers live is the exact place in which a DTC brand needs to command mind share. It’s most often where a DTC product is purchased, delivered and consumed.

Reaching consumers in the physical world is something that every DTC brand should make a consistent part of their media mix. For the smart DTC companies that do, they will be the ones that shift the battlefield of attention in their favor.

New Screenverse Hire Brings Top Talent Into OOH Industry

New Screenverse Hire Brings Top Talent Into OOH Industry

New Screenverse Hire Brings Top Talent Into OOH Industry

OOH Today

Screenverse Hires Susan Jaget to lead West Coast Sales

Screenverse is pleased to announce the addition of Susan Jaget to lead west coast sales. Susan comes to us amid an impressive career developing digital advertising sales businesses within technology startups.

She has more than two decades of advertising sales experience that includes 8 years launching and building MySpace. After her tenure at MySpace, she continued working with early-stage start-ups, helping to launch sales for Mahalo, a company that was run by Jason Calacanis and a founding team including Elon Musk and Roelof Botha. Other companies she has launched West Coast sales for include BigLeadSports, Van Wagner Digital and Unruly Media.

She believes that digital OOH and programmatic digital OOH represents a new frontier and that the time is right to join Screenverse and bring this powerful media to mainstream brands and agencies. She brings a large roster of clients and relationships to Screenverse.

We couldn’t be more excited to invest in Susan and have her invest in us. The only way to evolve this business and this industry is to bring in incredibly talented people with experience building new things and establishing new markets.

To caricature the great Michael Scott:
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. – Steve Jobs” – Adam Malone

Screenverse Acquires The Danaher Group – Now The Exclusive Sales Partner For TouchTunes

Screenverse Acquires The Danaher Group – Now The Exclusive Sales Partner For TouchTunes

Screenverse Acquires The Danaher Group – Now The Exclusive Sales Partner For TouchTunes

OOH Today

Screenverse is proud to announce the acquisition of The Danaher Group, becoming the exclusive sales partner for TouchTunes

New York, NY, — Screenverse, an emerging startup delivering ad management and monetization to digital screen networks, has acquired The Danaher Group. This acquisition makes Screenverse one of the largest digital OOH sales companies in the US, with exclusive sales representation of 50,000+ screens and 2.5 billion monthly impressions.

The Danaher Group was led by world-class media veterans Susan Danaher (former Pres. DPAA, EVP Viacom, CRO Adspace/Lightbox) and Victor Germain (VP Screenvision, SVP, Gast Station TV). Susan, Victor, and Taylor Chiulli have joined Screenverse in sales, research, and operations leadership positions.

David Weinfeld, CEO of Screenverse, is proud of the milestones reached so far but hopes to keep his team focused on the future.

“Adam and I know that the key pillars of our business are to invest our energies in great people and great networks. In acquiring The Danaher Group, we get both in an enormous way. Susan, Victor, and Taylor embody our vision and mission and have already helped us leap past our 2020 sales and revenues in the first half of 2021. We have big ambitions for the rest of 2021 and beyond.”

Central to its growth outlook, Screenverse became the exclusive sales partner for TouchTunes – the nation’s largest Bar & Restaurant network and one of the largest DOOH networks in the world.

Adam Malone, Pres. of Screenverse, thinks “this represents a major step forward in the business. TouchTunes is one of the largest and most significant digital place-based networks in the world, by number of screens (40,000) and total impressions (1.4 Billion/Month). At a time when the world is opening back up again, we are incredibly optimistic about the bar and restaurant sector. With a ‘Roaring 20’s’ like Summer upon us, TouchTunes is strongly positioned to reach a Gen Z and Millennial audience when they are out in the world having fun and spending money!”

Victor Germain, SVP of Sales at Screenverse, sees the impact of “the roaring 20s” on the TouchTunes business. “People are ready to be out. They are ready to see their friends. We see it in our first party data and in our daily lives. BevAl companies are back spending, and we are seeing huge interest from other age-gated categories such as tobacco, cannabis, and gambling. That’s certainly not all, as advertisers in banking, travel & tourism, entertainment and fashion are leaning back in to reach a millennial audience within our high dwell time environments.”

The TouchTunes network will be available via the leading SSPs; Vistar, PlaceExchange and Magnite. We are commissioning on-premise research for the Beverage and Alcohol market from Nielsen CGA and other providers.

Our Future is Not Guaranteed

Our Future is Not Guaranteed

Our Future is Not Guaranteed

Adam Malone, Co-Founder & President at Screenverse

Anna Bager gave an opening address to the 2021 OAAA/Geopath conference in which she detailed the state of the OOH Media marketplace.  The theme of the conference is “Future Proof” and her prognostication is that we are in for a “roaring 20’s” and another “golden age of advertising”.  “OOH will be there” as the world wakes up, as friends, families, and fans “reconnect” with each-other and their favorite pastimes.  “OOH is the backdrop for in-person, outdoor, reconnection”.

Anyone who didn’t just emerge from a 17 year slumber can tell you that this optimism stands in stark contrast to the last 15 months of our collective experience.  We just experienced the industry’s most challenging year in a century.  Revenues were down 1/3 across the board.  Whole swaths of inventory rendered dormant.  People were furloughed, fired, and freaked out en masse.

One would be tempted to, in Anna’s position, chalk 2020 up to a black swan event and move on as if it never happened.  Or, at least, pine for the good old days where we could tout several thousand (or so it seems) consecutive quarters of industry growth.  Back when OOH was great.  Maybe we can make OOH great again?!

This message is for OOH specialists and, to a lesser extent, media owners.  2020 proved yet again that necessity is the mother of invention.  We had to reinvent ourselves constantly in order to survive, and as Anna said, many of us rose to the occasion and delivered some of our best work.

We rethought old business models.  Embraced technology and data to target and account for every dollar.  We insisted on fresh impressions data and followed audiences as patterns changed daily.  We brought creative ideas to our clients — from digital screens in essential retail to pizza boxes, hand sanitizer, and PPE.  We hustled to find solutions to account for lost revenues.  We thought laterally.  As Scott Wells noted yesterday, we built out new verticals such as meal delivery, DTC, and community health and learned how to sell into them.  We had fire in our bellies and a willingness to fight for what we could get.

One of the things that’s always been a hallmark of OOH is that we are an industry of tight knit relationships.  We’ll look back on 2020 for years to come and remember clearly who took your phone calls, worked extra hard to extend the brief and sell through your idea.  And the agency folks who were trying to squeeze every available impression out of ever shrinking budgets will not forget the free media, the deep discounts, and the quick turnarounds from their media partners.

As we look forward to “re-opening, recovery, reconnection, rebirth”… please don’t revert back to the thinking, planning, and campaigns of yesteryear.

Anna Bager’s most poignant lesson for all of us yesterday was to “keep pushing.  The future is never guaranteed.”

Keep pushing.  The future is never guaranteed.

An agency leader I spoke with a few weeks ago told me he’s concerned with his team.  “All of our plans are starting to look the same, again.”  The creative fire that kept us alive in the hardest year of our professional lives is at risk of burning out.  Are we supposed to be done with the skill-building, the pushing and striving and leveling up because highway traffic is jamming again?  Because subway ridership is trending up and Times Square is packed?

How many Trade Desk Certifications were posted to Linkedin in December and are now collecting dust?

Don’t revert back to the same old same old.  I promise it will not work this time.

Follow audiences.  Insist on real-time data and impressions figures.  Lean in to digital place based media.  The tools, data, and technology that deliver real audiences in the real world.  Lean in to media that might never end up on Instagram but will drive real results for your clients.

Anna told us yesterday that  “future proof is not just about planning for worst case scenarios.  It is imagining best case new scenarios”.  Let’s imagine them.  Let’s build them.  And let’s do it with the same intensity and focus as we did when we had no other choice.