Captivate Clients Sign Long-term Contracts

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Toronto-based Captivate Network has strengthened its position in the high-end Canadian office tower market by receiving new long-term commitments from significant portfolio partners, meaning that it will continue to provide its digital screen service in elevators of over 170 buildings through 2016 and beyond.

Founded in 1997 and bought by Gannett in 2004, Captivate Network now operates in 946 buildings and on nearly 9,000 screens across North America. Of these, 173 buildings and nearly 1,500 screens are in Canada. The company now has approximately 80 million sq. ft. of Class A office space under contract across the five largest Canadian markets where Captivate operates: Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Oxford Properties, Brookfield Properties, Cadillac Fairview, Bentall, GWL Realty Management and Manulife are among the companies that have committed to offering Captivate Network’s news and entertainment programming in their elevators and lobbies for the long term.

“I feel that these long-term contracts are a vote of confidence in us, in our busness model and the way we do things,” says Rick Schiffmann, Captivate’s vice-president real estate.

In addition to re-signing existing clients, Captivate has signed new contracts with some of the Canadian market’s premier properties where it runs advertising campaigns for national brand-name companies. The Captivate systems have also been designed into most of the new build projects across Canada, including Bay Adelaide Center and RBC Center in Toronto, and Jamieson Place,Centennial Place East and West, Bankers Court and 8th Avenue Place in Calgary. New advertisers include RBC Financial, the City of Toronto, Samsung, CBC, TV Ontario, ADP, Robert Half, Wolf Class.

They join such established Captivate advertisers such as BMW, Grolsch, Brooks Brothers and Nexient.

“Most of our elevator screens, which average 12”, are divided into four different windows, with the advertising window taking up about one-third of the screen,” says Schiffmann. “The ads run 15- or 30-seconds, and one of our advantages is our flexibility. Advertisers can run a really heavy campaign buy during the time sector when people are heading to their offices in the morning, then light during less trafficked times, and heavy it up again at lunchtime or end of workday.”

Captivate has an editorial staff that develops unique content, rather than relying on raw news feeds. Its editors draw on a variety of content from partners such as: Thomson Reuters, CNN, The Canadian Press, La Presse Canadienne, Condé Nast, BusinessWeek, Wired, Popular Science,
Forbes, and CEP News.

“We have a ‘breaking news’ feature, and are constantly tweeking and trying new things,” says Schiffmann.

Content runs constantly on the screens and building owners also use Captivate’s screens to communicate with tenants, replacing paper fliers, posters and handbills. Surveys show that 96% of viewers watch Captivate screens most of or every time they are in an elevator.

“We have our own research but going with the standardized metrics developed by OVAB, and are also a member of the Canadian Outdoor Measurement Bureau,” says Schiffmann. “We know how important measurement is for media buyers.”

Across North America, Captivate messages reach an audience of several million ‘spend-ready’ consumers: educated professionals earning more than $75,000 per year. A typical 50-story office tower hosts about 5,000 spend-ready consumers who take an average of six elevator rides and several walks through lobby areas per day.

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