Ask the Board – October 30, 2017 | JONATHAN DODGE


How can the digital signage industry support so many CMS solutions, and what is the future for our industry relative to CMS solutions?”

Digital signage CMS (Content Management Systems) are the software programs that let users control and manage their signage content across one or many screens. There are likely thousands of available CMS solutions, hundreds I’ve read about, and a few dozen I’ve tested thoroughly. Freshwater is always looking to provide our clients with the best system for their needs.  These systems are often bundled differently and are most commonly niche-based with specific requirements, free with paid add-ons, subscription-based, or downloadable.    

There is a lot of speculation around how and why the digital signage industry can support so many platforms, but some of the likely reasons I will cover include:

  1. Digital signage is still an evolving industry
  2. The projected growth for digital signage leads to a significant market opportunity for businesses looking to enter the space
  3. There is not a mainstream, consolidated approach to digital signage
  4. There is not a clear market leader

Evolving Industry

Digital signage has advanced far beyond simply placing static images on LCDs, but like any technology, it is continuing to evolve at a high rate. We are starting to see retailers shift their focus from signage strategy to holistic digital experiences. As a result, content management systems are starting to integrate with other management platforms. This opens the space up to existing companies and technologies that begin to dip their toe into our industry.

Significant Market Growth

In the aggregate, hardware, software, content, and services supporting the digital signage industry are projected to reach upwards of $23 Billion by 2023 (According to Global Market Insights).  Whenever an industry is experiencing significant growth, we can expect new and existing businesses to try and tap some of the market share. 

Consolidated Approach

Unlike the mobile industry, where there are a couple of clear leaders like Apple and Samsung with full hardware/software integration, the digital signage industry is still debating media player over embedded system-on-a-chip. Because there are hundreds of hardware platforms, there are going to be just as many software platforms. As the display manufacturers start investing in their embedded systems, countless software companies are jumping at the chance to capitalize.

Market Leader

As with any growth industry, expect to see some consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, which will result in some of the CMS platforms falling by the wayside as they fail to gain enough market-share for stability. This will be an exciting transition to watch over the next several years.

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EVP, Business Development
Freshwater Digital Media Partners

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