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Capitalizing On HD Content Delivery

Delivering customized, targeted high-definition video content ? programming and advertising ? to audiences all over the world is the mission of the new Managed Media Services division recently launch 8/25/2006 10:52 PM Eastern

Capitalizing On HD Content Delivery

Delivering customized, targeted high-definition video content ? programming and advertising ? to audiences all over the world is the mission of the new Managed Media Services division recently launched by Minneapolis-based AV integrator, manufacturer, and service company Electrosonic Systems Inc.

Delivering customized, targeted high-definition video content — programming and advertising — to audiences all over the world is the mission of the new Managed Media Services division recently launched by Minneapolis-based AV integrator, manufacturer, and service company Electrosonic Systems Inc. The new division builds on competencies the company already had in-house, and is expected to make a major contribution to future growth and profitability. At its heart is a quandary familiar to anyone with an ad budget to spend and a desire for maximum impact.

“The television advertising market has tanked, because of TiVo and so forth, and advertising money is going elsewhere,” says John Mayberry, business development manager at Electrosonic, describing the initial rationale for the new division.

With advertisers demanding more reach and impact, and technology evolving to the point where it can deliver the goods, Mayberry says Managed Media Services is a logical, though challenging, response.

“What Managed Media Services does is create an upscale, controlled-destination narrowcasting system delivering HD content to mass audiences,” Mayberry says.

The new system extends a technology Electrosonic developed to deliver HD video content to cinema screens nationwide for pre-feature entertainment and other uses. With this distribution network, Electrosonic was already providing theatres with 20-minute chunks of high-definition digital video programming, including commercials, to run before feature films and in lobbies and concession areas.

Serving the cinema community led Electrosonic to form its own internal “news network.” Moreover, the cinema rollout had required the company to develop its own, purpose-built video uploading system, working with AMX. It soon seemed clear that this uploading and distribution system could have equally compelling applications in the commercial world.

So moving beyond cinema settings was a natural strategy, Mayberry says. “We did no research in the traditional sense because the demand was already there,” he explains. “It was pretty obvious who the players were. We're talking with the advertising firms, the large display firms. There aren't a lot of secrets in this business, other than simply executing.”

Mayberry joined the company in June to head up the new division. He's a veteran of such diversified media organizations as Disney and Maryland Sound, and has worked on major theme park, transportation, retail entertainment, and other projects.

Mayberry points out that what really enabled Electrosonic to attack this new market was the fact that it had already built a global capability to distribute high-definition video and audio over the Internet. Moreover, Electronic Media Networks, based in Burbank, CA, provided a robust ability to create network-enabled media content for worldwide distribution.

Managed Media Services benefits, Mayberry says, from being located in Burbank, “in the epicenter of the content providers”, with such industry leaders as Disney and Warner Brothers located nearby.



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Capitalizing On HD Content Delivery

Delivering customized, targeted high-definition video content ? programming and advertising ? to audiences all over the world is the mission of the new Managed Media Services division recently launched by Minneapolis-based AV integrator, manufacturer, and service company Electrosonic Systems Inc.

The result is a fusion of content and vehicle, offering advertisers the opportunity to route high definition messages to individual displays or groups of displays all over the world, including options far beyond the usual plasma screens in public spaces. Settings for viewing these messages can range from retail stores to airport concourses, and displays can be individually scheduled to reflect local interests, marketing priorities, and time constraints.

“We have a wonderful system for putting ads up on the sides of buildings, or anywhere that people congregate. If you have any group of people who want to get a message across, we have everything they need from the content to the equipment.”

Launching the effort was a major commitment. “The threshold to get into this on a serious level is many millions of dollars over a long period of time,” Mayberry says. The largest cost is talent, he adds — top people to handle software development, engineering, project management, and similar tasks. “We have the most eclectic group of people here,” Mayberry says. “We even compose our own music.”

It took about six months to get the new service into operation, he adds. It wouldn't have been possible, though, if Electrosonic hadn't already had many of its critical elements in its arsenal.

“We have a media content group that allows us to edit content and make sure it works, plus an international service group on every continent,“ Mayberry says. “We could put a worldwide advertising distribution system together. We already had a worldwide sales force, a video display group, and a huge operation in the U.K. People were coming to us every day to find out about digital playback options.”

Electrosonic thought it was vital to move beyond conventional advertising messages on its network. “There are a lot of point-of-sale advertising systems around, even on the grocery store level,” Mayberry says. “But ways to deliver content in the HD world have been very limited. If it's just advertising, people will walk away.”

Hence, Managed Media Services from the beginning paid as much attention to creating quality content as to distributing it.

“Our approach is to actually be able to walk into a major retailer and say, we have a solution for you and your enterprise,” Mayberry says.

Once the system is in place and functioning, he adds, the sky is the limit in terms of future uses. Although Managed Media Services has been in operation only a short time, “Our division is already generating a significant percentage of Electrosonic's revenue,” Mayberry says. “I think you're going to see some very exciting things.”

John McKeon is an independent consultant and writer based in the Washington D.C. area. He can be reached at jjmckeon@com-cast.net. Preview his novel, “Demented Choirs,” at www.dementedchoirs.com.



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