Lightbox Goes Tango Uniform

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

‘With large debts, huge commitments to landlords and some seriously huge salaries, it’s sad to say that the Lightbox OOH Video Network is most probably not a going concern” said some all-knowing industry sage back in July 2020.

Fast forward some three and a half years and it has sadly come to fruition with news filtering in during March that the company had finally closed its doors.

For those of you with good memories you will know that later that same year, the fire sale of the business to Cattri, a leading out-of-home technology company based in Mexico City (and backed by PC Capital, a Mexican private equity firm specialising in growth equity investments, and Altum Capital, a Mexico City-based private credit fund) did not help, as we said it would at the time.

I said at the time “Lightbox’s problem has always been that they were never able to position their screens as a ‘strategic’ Ad buy. Quite simply, they were always “left over money” meaning that they were a tactical buy in a year when spare money was available, but typically ignored the next and following years. New ownership and new ‘tech’ from Cattri will change nothing. As much as people won’t like it being said, this is nothing more than a fire sale and does nothing to shore up the underlying weakness in the networks current business model”.

Anyhow they obviously managed to survive a few more years with a lumpy revenue stream, by all accounts some 80% of annual revenue came between Thanksgiving and Christmas and with no real regular advertising spend for the rest of the year.

Their pricing was always “give away” pricing, to me at least proving that even with their May 2021 deal with Comscore they were never able to prove to advertisers that it was a truly effective medium.

But do you know what? The weirdest thing of all, especially with the recent rise of Retail Media Networks, Lightbox were never able to convince the Mall’s retail tenants that using the screens would drive traffic into the stores.

As is often the case, there is much for the industry to learn here from this company’s demise.

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