An Interview With Mark Boidman

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

“I expect that what I have to say will likely cause some debate,” says Mark Boidman, managing director at Peter J. Solomon Company, New York-based investment banking advisory firm, who personally likes to call the digital out-of-home/digital signage/digital place-based sector ‘Intelligent Visual Communications’.

Mark Boidman

Mark Boidman

Boidman, who has been a speaker at some previous Investment Conferences, will be ‘in the hot seat’ at The DailyDOOH Investor Conference, Oct. 22 during New York Digital Signage Week when he’s interviewed in depth by Stephen Nesbit, conference co-chair and managing director of Prestonwood Trail Holdings LLC, Dallas.

While we expect Boidman to comment on a range of topics, one we’re sure he will touch on is that fact that he feels that the Out-of-Home and Digital Out-of-Home industries have got to do a better job on delivering real time data and analytics.

“Advertisers want this because they want to have more concrete knowledge of consumer engagement and ROI,” says Boidman. “There are companies working on it: xAd is using location-based mobile advertising technology that is accurate, measurable, and scalable.

“But we need more. With the Internet and other media, advertisers can follow the consumer engagement, where the consumer goes and and gauge the ROI. Online video and mobile have more real-time data and analytics.”

However, Boidman believes that Beacons will help in DOOH and OOH in developing analytics. But people need to be educated about them.

“They are privacy-friendly,”
he says. “Over time, people will become more comfortable with them, the way that they become more comfortable with the GPS. When New York asked Titan to remove their Beacons recently, it wasn’t that they don’t work. I think it was mainly just that citizens hadn’t been consulted about them.”

Boidman says, “It’s amazing what’s happened over the past year, with the mobile revolution, Reality, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth. Image recognition is developing. Digital displays talk to each other. OOH will evolve, with less inventory, but we are seeing – and will see – more DOOH in key markets. CBS Outdoor acquiring Van Wagner has been a big coup.” – It will be interesting to watch the rebranding of these companies, expected soon.– Ed.

“Today’s purchasing power is and will be in the hands of millennials and younger so they will be expecting everything in the world of digital,” says Boidman. “There is already less foot traffic in physical stores. The in-store companies will have to scramble to meet the new buyers’ expectations.”

We asked Boidman what investors are looking for in the DOOH sector.

“The key is what you are trying to do, what’s relevant, what has more engagement with the consumer, and whether it will generate dollars. That engagement is the way to go. Investors are naturally looking at the big companies first, but what certain small companies are doing is quite interesting for the future. But if there’s no path for profitability, investors aren’t going to be interested.”

We also asked Boidman about programmatic buying for the DOOH world, and whether companies like Adstruc with its workflow system that makes it easier to buy and sell advertising are doing it.

“No,” he says. “It’s not programmatic buying. There’s no real-time bidding, and with all the different sizes and types of screens and locations in OOH and DOOH, full programmatic would be difficult.”

Boidman expects to see a tremendous amount of mergers and acquisitions in 2015, and not only in networks.

“I think we’ll see a lot of it among software providers,” he says. “There are way too many out there. While there are a few very good big ones, there are hundreds out there with their own ‘proprietary software’ for content management and more.”

According to Boidman, software companies and other back end companies to ‘intelligent visual communcations’ are ripe for M&As. And among networks, he foresees more, especially in the point-of-care, transit and retail sectors.

“Winners in the industry will be companies that can provide the whole package, not with bringing in a lot of partners to make that happen, but by offering everything in one house on their own,” he says. “Companies don’t want to have to deal with a whole lot of different providers when there is a problem.”

A last question that we asked Boidman in our exclusive interview was whether we might see any more DOOH companies going public in the near future.

“Not this year,” he says. “Maybe in 2015, there’ll be one or two, but none that I foresee of any size or scale. However,, we will probably see some public companies buying private companies.”

The DailyDOOH Investor Conference takes place Wednesday October 22, 2014. Registration can be found here.

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