So our rumour first thing Thursday that Scala was going to make (and announce) an acquisition (today) was proved correct. Scala announced later on Thursday that it was to acquire the SignChannel division of Thinking Screen Media.
Buying SignChannel is basically a way for Scala to address the low-cost (digital signage) challenge without cannibalising their own sales.
For those wanting to know a little more about SignChannel our CEO Spotlight with Alan Phillips, CEO Thinking Screen Media is quite a good start.
SignChannel is an advertising-free, subscription-based service, it basically lets subscribers supplement their own promotional content with commercial content such as weather, stock, news or sports updates. For those of you who have been anywhere near a Scala stand at a show in the last 12 months, where SIgnChannel has almost always shared stand space, you will know that it is an innovation that the average ‘punter’ has found intriguing.
Gerard Bucas, Chief Executive Officer, Scala is of course NOT entirely accurate in the press release where he says “No one today has a digital signage offering for small business owners to deploy and manage themselves. SignChannel is the first” – there are plenty of people who offer this sort of service; Ridge Logic, Wirespring, Nanonation, signagelive, Amscreen and even UC View has a nice, easy affordable product to name just a few!
It’s just that none of them are Scala – with all that should entail if ONLY Scala would do the job of marketing themselves and protecting their brand properly!
What Gerard should have said is “this allows Scala to REALLY compete in the small business space with the likes of WireSpring, signagelive and Nanonation” – NOT that their is no competition in this space or that Scala are there first.
Anyway, Gerard is more on-target when he says what COULD be achieved going forward “By leveraging low-cost media players such as wireless photo frames and Scala’s template capability, a small to medium business owner can easily set up their own digital signage network, create compelling content and manage their playlists through a simple Web interface. Coupled with SignChannel’s built-in media content, it is so innovative that we feel it truly presents a new paradigm in our industry”. – the templates better be damned good (they need to pay top dollar to get them perfect cos’ they are always done poorly and always an after thought) and they need to think content – it’s unlikely that any ‘compelling content’ will be created without a bit of work.
It looks like Scala paid USD 2 million for SignChannel though whether that was just for the software part or both the software and the content channel as well is unclear.
It’s actually nice to sit down and write about a positive acquisition in this space for once rather than the usual bought-for-a-dollar on your knees fire-sell.
Now Scala the challenge is for you to show us what you can do with it!