aka.tv’s Editorial Independence

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Strange! A story that was up on aka.tv yesterday (7th May 2008) is not up there today?

Could it be that someone in the UK asked them to remove it?

Could it be that the owners of aka.tv who also own Esprit Digital were so keen to run a story that gave themselves some publicity that they didn’t stop to think AND didn’t get permission from said owner (i.e. the ‘someone’ above) before publishing!

We don’t intend to fall foul of that ‘someone’ (they seem happy with our ‘proper’ researched exclusives) but an excerpt from said post is interesting (as it hardly counts as COMMENT when you know that one owns the other)…


The Esprit Digital model of renting the complete system, fully installed offers an extremely flexible solution for outdoor contractors and brands to run specific targeted campaigns over defined periods. The model reduces the risk to the advertiser and contractor – as Esprit rent on the basis of available screen hours, ie if the screens are not on or are not functioning, then there is nothing to pay.

We haven’t met one company that would prefer to rent a consumer-screen based 6-Sheet when they could buy one from the likes of Remote Media or others. Vision Media Group (VMG) have even designed and manufactured their own and reckon that they can bring them in for a little over UK PDS 10K each.

At that price why on earth would you rent?

PS. It’s article http://www.aka.tv/articles/article.asp?articleid=1625 that is missing.

2 Responses to “aka.tv’s Editorial Independence”

  1. Richard Cobbold Says:


    I can’t help but respond, as I feel the story deserves a little more context ! I have therefore pulled together a short note on AKA.TV; 5 bullets on who and why we are, what motivates us and what happened to the ‘mysterious missing story’..

    1) What is AKA.TV ? AKA.TV is a standalone internet publishing business dedicated to the digital signage market. AKA.TV is positioned as a global news digest service – reviewing the news, discarding the fluff, and presenting the real story as concisely as possible. It looks to add clear commentary on why it thinks a story is worth reading and what it might mean for the industry.

    2) Who Is AKA.TV ? AKA.TV has since last December been owned by Screen Holdings Ltd, the company behind The Screen Forum, the UK thought-leadership group. Screen Holdings is majority owned by James Henry & Richard Cobbold, the founders of Digital View. Digital View was a pioneer in the digital signage industry, and last year sold its digital signage division to EnQii Media. One of Digital View’s early successes was their participation in the original London Underground installations around which Esprit Digital Ltd was created. Digital View retains a small stake in Esprit Digital and retains a minor interest in EnQii Media Ltd.

    3) AKA.TV’s Structure.. The long term success of the business depends upon its ability to provide the consistency of service that will attract readers and media advertising partners. AKA.TV is managed and edited by Simon Robinson, a seasoned professional who started his career at The Daily Telegraph and was latterly deputy Managing Director at national newspaper group, Trinity Mirror. Simon’s team works closely with myself and other industry insiders to find and refine its stories and commentary, but it retains full day-to-day control.

    4) The Missing Story.. A number of familiar looking outdoor displays appeared outside the AKA.TV offices in London’s Oxford Street last week. We spotted these and printed a story around them. We were subsequently informed that we were ahead of the main contractor’s own PR machine, and so agreed to remove the story in anticipation of the full release.

    5) Esprit Digital’s Rental Model.. Our comments regarding Esprit Digital reflect our view that rental plays a vital part in driving our industry forward. The London Underground installation has done more to change the face of the European mainstream digital signage market than any other single project. It has brought a huge amount of money into the industry, both through CBS’s infrastructure investments and through the resulting advertising expenditure. Esprit took the financial risk on this initial installation and rented the system to CBS on the basis of screen availability – ie if it didn’t work, there would be nothing to pay. For the 3 years that these displays have been in-situ, they have operated at 99.8% reliability, and there has not been a single rental deduction. I don’t believe that there are many networks that claim a similar record (particulalry not within the hot, humid and dirty environment of the Tube). Esprit continues to successfully rent displays to companies who wish to minimise their long term risk, or better match their expenditure with their income by running a ‘pay as they go’ model. The large displays may be getting cheaper – but they still represent considerable capital expenditure, and often are needed for only short campaigns or to trial a digital concept. In these situations the market would be poorer if there was not a flexible rental option.

    I hope that the above serves to flesh out and inform some of the points you raise. It should also stand as a statement of what readers should expect from AKA.TV. Our rapidly maturing industry deserves a stable of mature and professional publications to support it – and we are determined to ensure that AKA.TV remain at the forefront of them.

    Best wishes,

  2. Antoine de Ryckel Says:

    In my opinion the “managed services” model proposed by Esprit Digital is interesting for companies willing to overcome CAPEX constraints and maintain off-balance-sheet treatment. All will depend on the financial requirements and situation of the digital signage network owner. However, generally speaking, it is true that a well-funded digital signage company will rather “buy” than “rent” the equipment.

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