The online OOH / DOOH planning and buying space really seems to be heating up at the moment – last week at the DPAA Media Summit it was announced that Ayuda Media Systems  had developed an Online Planning Tool for its members and now following on from that we have a much bigger announcement of a free platform called Symphony – something we are told, essentially allows agencies to plan and buy both digital and traditional OOH easily across all networks.
The system, which is free to network operators and agencies is a platform that allows OOH buyers to put together and procure an OOH campaign in seconds. Andreas Soupliotis, CEO of Ayuda told us “Buying and posting an ad on the Internet today takes seconds thanks to Google AdSense. We feel that traditional and digital OOH should be just as easy. We’ve been developing solutions for the OOH industry for 7 years, so we feel we are uniquely positioned to understand the needs of OOH media buyers” referring no doubt to the success that Ayuda has experienced with its BMS software for network owners and operators.
Media buyers can use the system to browse digital and traditional OOH networks, drill into networks, look at associated media measurement data such as Eyes On Ratings (for traditional OOH assets), as well as detailed venue profile information (for digital OOH assets). Symphony even suggests a media plan based on target demographics and budgets including maps, photos, and videos.
Optional functionality includes digital campaign execution, proof of performance/play, and creative trafficking. Andreas Soupliotis continued “This is the richest OOH platform out there by far and it’s free, both to agencies as well as media operators.”
Symphony we are told, will eventually connect to Planning systems which, as many industry veterans agree is the ultimate objective to simplify the entire planning and buying process.
Ayuda also announced that it will customize Symphony for all participating agencies based on their specific requirements and will ensure that all their data remains confidential. Each agency can thus have their own, customised version of Symphony. Moreover, all network operator data will also remain confidential, passcode protected, and will only be accessible to agencies of their choosing.
This does not represent the first time that Ayuda has come into the OOH / DOOH arena offering a free solution to the industry – Ayuda has built the highly adopted Eyes On Web platform for the Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement (TAB), and of course last week co-announced an upcoming release of a DOOH planning-only tool developed with the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association (DPAA) that incorporates research studies from Arbitron and measurements from Nielsen.
Andreas, keen on this ‘free’ bit told us “The reason we chose to offer it for free is that buying exchanges do not represent rocket science and should thus be priced accordingly. The major value proposition comes from the networks themselves, not our software aggregation layer.”
When asked how Ayuda would monetize Symphony, Soupliotis replied “We’ll make money by selling optional additional services, such as campaign execution, and being able to tie into trafficking, billing and financial systems. Such “add-ons” will be on an “at request” basis. So if media operators and agencies just want to use the basic system there is no cost.”
Symphony is currently in beta testing and will be released to market in January 2011.