Becoming a Digital Media House

Dynamic Signage QuestionOne of the questions that seems to come up more often lately – not surprisingly – is, What does it take to become a content provider for dynamic signage? Well, first and foremost, in our opinion, you need to upgrade your mindset. We recommend you think of yourself not as simply a content provider, but rather as a media house. LobbyPOP is most definitely a media house, not simply a content provider.

Not to offend anyone at all – that’s not our style! – but there are differences between content providers, content distributors, encoding houses, and media houses. Each serves a purpose! Here are the main degrees of separation:

  1. Content providers come in every shape and size. CNN is a content provider. Netflix is a  content distributor. (It seems hard to believe now that Netflix streaming video is available on nearly any Internet-connected home video product, but back in the spring of 2008, the only Netflix-compatible device was a tiny streaming media box called the Roku Player.) HBO is a content provider and a content distributor.
  2. Content DISTRIBUTORS are entities like Hulu. As content providers, NBCUniversal, News Corporation and The Walt Disney Company bring shows, movies and clips to the Hulu video library. Although Comcast recently acquired NBCUniversal, Hulu users will continue to enjoy the same NBCUniversal TV shows that they have come to expect from the Hulu distribution service, when, where and how they want them.
  3. If you want to convert existing media (video or audio) into other formats for mobile, streaming, or dynamic signage, an ENCODING HOUSE can format and deliver your content.
  4. A Traditional MEDIA HOUSE typically includes a relatively fixed in-flow from professional partners, as well as from reporters and other content providers. This will include writers, photographers, ad agency creative, and artists.
  5. In a DIGITAL Media House, content provided can include RSS feeds, stock tickers, motion artist products, animations, audio content, music, raw video, and more.
  6. In a Media House, the SOURCES can have a complex role, as in the the case of the LobbyPOP Media House, where Sources are Digital Signage Certified Experts or LobbyPOP Pros, who are in essence collaborators, certified to submit information straight into the ordering system, in fact not requiring additional modification.
  7. In a Media House, creation of brand new elements (Content Creation) is accomplished with the use of software, hardware, audio equipment, musical instruments, artists and more. This can lead to use of the term “Production House” in some circles. The Media House team will minimally include camera operators, sound recordists, editors, graphic designers, presenters, writers, technology architects, and video producers.
  8. In the LobbyPOP Media House, the information flow consists of information submitted, with great variation, by a network of 280 collaborators. The collaborators are connected directly to end-user organizations, such as municipalities, small businesses, and different entities in the fields of advertising and marketing.
  9. Collaborators have been trained, and have a detailed manual, in how to submit information into the media house system and they are allowed to do so without much additional guidance. The majority of information is, submitted by a web form on the School of Sign Arts website, or to some extent by phone to the editors.

Digital Content Production FlowchartWith this very broad brush stroke review, we can see that Media Houses must be able to work with a vast array of content types, and be able to format for any type of output, with the services that an encoding house would perform. But what a Media House must also be able to achieve is an artistic expression and blending of content, from music beds and voice-over, to the actual architecture and design of the engaging final digital sign product.  Not simply a transformer making ice cubes from water, but an alchemist, changing mineral elements into gold, creating intuitive, inspired audio-visual communications.

This leads to the next question: What sort of equipment, hardware, software, microphones, etc, should a media house employ?

Well, that is for the next blog. How perfect is that?