Four Crucial Content Issues for Digital Signage

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Interactive Content

Interactivity, both touch and non-touch, is becoming popular for many retail applications. In order to use these technologies, the signage CMS needs to have interactive programming features. In addition, the signage player also needs to have certain features in order for interactive programming to work. These interactivities can be programmed for touch, motion, sensors, and anonymous analytics.

Media Tags

If you have a lot of media assets—photos, videos, audios, logos—you will need to tag them properly for them to be able to be called up quickly. Each media asset should contain one or more tags associated with it. Tagging is an important part of the delivery process. There are programs that can help you manage and tag large collections of digital assets, called “digital asset management” (DAM) software. If you are using Windows, the software offers some enhanced tagging features, which is great for small asset collections. Tagging assets is also important if your signage software can trigger content automatically based on certain actions.

Content Ready

Most of you have heard the expression “it’s in the can.” This came from TV & Film to mean the program was ready to use. Most TV shows have three or four shows “in the can,” ready to air. As a retailer, it is important to have content “in the can,” ready to use any time. It is also more economical to create multiple versions of your messages within one edit/creative session. Many retailers “cut” variations of the same message—for example, creating a 30-second, a 15-second, and a 5-second spot of the same message. Create enough content so you can tap into it at any time, and keep your network fresh. Make sure you tag your content carefully for searching, retrieving, and for triggering content. You might want to prepare a message for several different audience demographics, and use dayparting to show targeted messages, at the right time, to the right audience. Tagging your media assets make this process easier.

Legal Issues

Copyright infringement is a serious offence. Make sure you have the legal right to use the content for your digital signage. Otherwise, you will be in violation of Federal copyright laws. Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of work, infringing on the copyright holder’s “exclusive rights”—right to reproduce, distribute, display, or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works. It often refers to copying “intellectual property” without written permission from the copyright holder, which is typically a publisher, or other business representing, or assigned by, the work’s creator. Using copyright materials without obtaining the rights to do so could result in arrest, fines and lawsuits.

You also need to make sure you have the right to show the content in a commercial environment. Images, videos, web pages, logos, and RSS feeds are all protected under copyright laws. If you intend on using any of these types of content, make sure to check on licensing issues, and get written permission to use the content for your purposes. Content providers are very protective of their content.

You can purchase content for use with digital signs over the Internet by searching for “royalty free images.” Many of these sites, such as photos.com, gettyimages.com, istockphotos.com, videoblocks.com, stockphotos.com, and others, are clearing houses for images, photos, videos, and animation content. Some of these sites offer free content and others charge a fee per image/video. When dealing with these companies, make sure you have the right to show the content commercially, which in many cases, will require an extended license, and will cost additional money.

1 Comment

  1. Most of these subjects are somewhat familiar to the digital signage community. “Legal issues” are still avoided rampantly- at least until a copyright holder is made aware of the violation. Sad reality is that it is relatively easy to put together a computer that displays images and sound. Creating an artistic or musical work that consumers want to see is really hard. So, a significant number in the DS community do what people all around the world do- they use these works without permission and assume the DMCA will protect them. At the very least, the apparent complexities of the DMCA gives them a sense of security. Here’s the problem though- the artist isn’t making money anymore. All of this “fair use” is sucking the talent right out of the creative gene pool. So, next time you enjoy “fair use” just remember that this is a temporary gift. Eventually, all an end-viewer will see on these fantastic technical marvels, a.k.a. Digital Signs, is the typical advertising spiel that all Millennials are trained to ignore since birth.

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