There’s Nobody That Can Outshoot Major Cosgrave!
Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief
This week’s ‘Outcast-PumpTop TV-HCMN Merger‘ story caused a bit of a stir, lots of comments, some virulent emails (which we won’t publish) and even a couple of phone calls.
Outcast And PumpTop TV first announced a partnership back in June 2009 and have been in the news more recently with their ongoing dispute with fellow forecourt network GSTV.
If our readers would NOT write in anonymously it might help separate fact from faction, right from wrong. Reading between the lines we can see that many who wrote in took issue with some of the wording in the press release (mainly the numbers) which were described by one individual as “at worst dishonest or at best misleading” AND we’d have to agree that the press release did no one in it any favours.
As Gail wrote about the Health Club Media Network back in September “Approximately 500 of its clubs are now equipped with one or two portrait style digital screens with another 500 to be equipped by the end of Q1, 2011” so it seemed perhaps a little foolish in the press release to try and talk up 5,000 venues (i.e the majority of the venues are non-digital).
Another reader pointed out (again correctly) that “”Neilsen’s Fourth Screen report shows Outcast/Pumptop at 1,226 deployed locations, and this announcement claims 5000. The report shows digital screens in 512 health club venues, and the announcement touts 4,000”.
He / she added “The gap between the ‘potential’ of 9000 and the reality of 1,738 is alarming. We need to celebrate factual growth accomplishments, not PR-driven fantasies.
We’d agree. We are big fans of Matthew Stoudt by the way and it’s a shame that he has let much of that press release out through his fingers.
Some of the criticism anonymously laid at his door, mind, was that both Outcast and PumpTop TV were loss-making and this deal was something of a last gasp effort by the investors involved. If so, it’s hardly the first time that we have seen that in our industry.
We are going to put on our ‘nice’ hat and wish the new venture every success BUT we’d support the anonymous voices writing into us and ask for a lot more honesty and clarity in forthcoming announcements.
And, by the way, as this was being written, we got a nice note from Outcast’s PR company now telling us that “together, this combined network creates unprecedented scale by reaching on-the-go consumers in 5,000 gas stations and health clubs combined.”
Our math might be a little off, but the numbers still don’t seem to add up for us.
February 16th, 2011 at 12:42 @571
Ah, mon ami! My spirit zooms as your hatchet falls!
February 16th, 2011 at 14:12 @633
Being a veteran executive of this space and having had my fair share of major success as well as setbacks, I am sure I am not alone in my distaste for these types of shameless, misleading and out right decietful attempts to mislead the “industry” as to our collective progress. It is little wonder why the very agencies and clients we all work so hard to impress find issue with most of the “facts” they are presented with. They do not know who to believe so they believe no one !
This same disbelief has spilled over into the investment community as well. The willingness to invest significant money into the industry has all but dried up due to the “build it and they will come” mentality that clearly no one should every base a financial decision on.
One wonders if we can put egos aside and put the same amount of energy into selling our true value propositions than some put into these wonderfully written pieces of fiction, we might all be further ahead.
February 16th, 2011 at 14:50 @659
Time to require a registration for comments on your blog. The Anons of the world are far too destructive in their cowardice.
February 16th, 2011 at 19:27 @852
Perhaps this press release, unfortunately for Outcast and their PR firm, was ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ for the BS-slinging US networks, perhaps everyone has had enough of industry “leadership” not by growing their networks and revenue, but by slinging lies round the internet. It is far more important to call BS on these ridiculous claims than to root out the cowardly whistleblowers. Again, it was apparently the anonymous comments that provided accurate measurement data, not the press release or the coverage of it!
February 16th, 2011 at 20:30 @896
per outcast website: http://www.outcast.net/merger.html
“68 million Nielsen-audited monthly consumers”
per nielsen 4th screen report, total monthly visits 18+
outcast/pumptop: 17.4M + hcmn: 4.5M
total: 22 million visits
even factoring hcmn static venues, impossible to get anywhere near the claimed 68M scale. embarrassing.
February 17th, 2011 at 04:11 @216
The problem with all the various claims of screen population is that it is so tempting to overstate how many are in a network. At the same time what do you count as a display ?
We have a number of installations using our Wallflower software that are displayed as the welcome screen in hotel rooms. This is done to allow time sensitive media to be displayed instead of a simple DVD.
Some of these are in hotels with 600+ rooms. Should we count these as displays or be honest and say well actually there is only one player ?
We always try to be honest but I am sure many others would not.
February 17th, 2011 at 21:09 @923
Tony – Venue count or maybe guest count are probably better to communicate in your marketing, rather than screen count. Quoting your scale by way of screen count usually indicates a lack of other information, or that you like big numbers for their own sake. malls have 10+ screens, movie multiplexes have 10+ screens, gas stations have 10+ screens, many airplanes have 100+ screens, office buildings have 10+ elevators.
The only figures that really matter are how many people came within sight of your network content, and how long did they spend within sight of your network content. Screens should be deployed so as to maximize these metrics. How many guests does the hotel have, and how long do they spend near the in-room screen while your content is playing. Check out the DP-AA guidelines as well.
February 20th, 2011 at 02:31 @147
Glad you like Mr. GQ Matthew Stoudt (had to do it–have you seen those photos on the Outcast website!). The guy is a typical start-up exec who tells you a lot of stuff that is simply false. His staff is a revolving door and those I know who have worked for them say this company is filled with lies–that is why they got into the lawsuit with GSTV. Do I wish for the industry to fail–NO I DON’T! But I also don’t want our industry to be thought of as filled with lying liars. The ad and media agencies look at all these folks as fools. Get it together people!!!!