Bill Gerba  did warn us about the dangers of doing the annual trends and predictions posts but we didn’t listen did we? AND was it really 12 months ago (December 2007) that we posted our ‘Ten Companies to Watch in 2008 ‘?
Anyway, here is a brief review of how we think we did with those we suggested you watch…
- Neo Advertising
- Screen Technology
- The Sound Agency
Neo entered the Iberian Market via an acquisition of 51% of the geographical market leader DotOne, incorporated Neo Advertising Poland, incorporated Neo Advertising Italy (through a Broadsign partner called Nodum), did acquisitions in Scanidnavia, setup a business in China, now in the UK via a major stake in Avanti Screen Media, announced profitability in Canada (phew!!!) AND that’s not including the deals they walked away from!!!! There is also a probable deal in India (though the due diligence seems to be taking a bit of time), they are looking at the US (but sensibly staying away from the remnants of Reactrix it seems), employ well over 100 people and had a 2008 Budget of something like CHF 35 Million for the entire group (without taking into account any of the new acquisitions). What else can we say?
For a French business these folks are particularly good at being International (although could always do more). Recently had to move into new, bigger offices in order to house the 50+ employees working on site.
Some great work for Orange’s Flagship store in Bordeaux and some really nice interactive touch screen stuff for launch of the Citroën C3 at the ‘Paris Motor Show’
Raised even more money this year. Typically keeping quiet about what they are up to but we know of major deals in Australia and China. Stuart Armstrong in New York seems to be the golden boy in the eyes of the new VC investors and seems to be a deal maker extraordinaire. A few hiccups this year we feel on their bigger, broader technology vision and strategy BUT a lot more to come from these folks – especially if they can truly deliver as a global solutions provider going forward.
A couple of the Pharmacy networks we have seen worldwide have surprised us in not doing as well as we thought they would. One network owes a supplier almost USD 1 million we believe so things in this niche market even with rich pharmaceutical advertisers are not as rosy as have been painted – that or the networks are making basic business mistakes. Anyway, not so DeMedya who have grown and grown their Pharmacy network in Turkey this year.
These guys were the first to offer an automated audience measurement solution and are probably still the best in what has now become a crowded market. Here’s yet another French company that could do more to tell the world what it is doing but is surprisingly international despite that. Now that they offer their solution on Linux and Mac OSX (as well as the original Windoze) there is little stopping them from truly low cost rollouts. With something like 300 projects on the go globally at the moment and a huge US win that we believe will be announced in Vegas next year at DSE these are the folks that are likely to be watching you and your customers in the foreseeable future.
First mover advantage in big screens in retail windows and some great campaigns under their belt (over 15 campaigns this year in over 8 countries in only their second year). Can probably lay claim to having invented this particular market space but now have really credible and HOT competition from the likes of GestureTek, InwindowOutdoor, Monster Media and WindowGain.
Motomedia do have franchises in countries as far afield as Lagos, Estonia and Tanzania and of course have been active in the US a lot recently with Pearl Media. There is only so much you can do with ‘transient’ (read ‘temporary’) windows and 2 – 3 week only campaigns though and the strategy that WindowGain have for example of getting more permanent installations probably should have been begun my Motomedia much earlier in their business lifecycle BUT expect some announcements from Motomedia in the fixed network space in early 2009.
These guys have failed to convert the Unilever Ice Cream business into the big fixed signage European wide rollout that we predicted, face intense competition from the likes of Cubb and Pixman and unlike the latter competitor, simply don’t seem to have the ear of the brands or the media agencies – despite having a senior Kinetic exec on their board. Being on AIM hasn’t helped them and they have announced that they are cash flow starved a number of times. Likely to not survive much longer we fear.
We had high hopes for this Scandinavian screen business especially as they talked the right story, offered a nice embedded signage solution in a screen and had some great retail customers. Unfortunately their execution and marketing has been poor and we have heard little if nothing from them anywhere in the last 6 months. This one is a real shame as they had all the components of a good retail offering.
We thought there was a chance that this Cambridgeshire based company could be turned around. Initially burning through almost UK PDS 10 million of investors money and with nothing at the end to show for it of note – they entered voluntary administration to seek protection from their creditors, raised a little bit of money from some Russians to get out of that but have struggled again since. What was once an exciting piece of technology now looks expensive for what it as well as being old and tired.
JURY STILL OUT
Business Week and the DailyDOOH write about you and then what happens? Nothing! It’s probably not fair of us to label these guys at all as we think they just decided not to play in our space (i.e,. digital out of home). Julian Treasure at The Sound Agency is the authority on audio in public spaces and is doing sterling business elsewhere.
Early next week look out for the post on next year’s ‘Ten Companies To Watch In 2009’ !!!