The audiences that agencies buy on digital place-based media look more like television, but they have the targeting and interactivity of digital. Captivate’s elevator network ensures access to office workers, which can then be targeted geographically, according to time of day or audience. Nielsen provides impression data that measures actual viewership via its Place-Based Video Report.
Mobile is another option to measure performance and attribution.
“We are moving toward more interaction with mobile, where we can activate mobile and mobile can activate our screens,” Frey said. Beacons and near-field communications (NFC) provide opportunities for interactions and measurement, with companies like Blue Bite leading the charge there.
Another idea is measuring attribution based on proximity. Does a video advertisement in the mall lead to a spike in same-day in-store sales?
Meanwhile, massive M&A activity could also factor into the shape of programmatic place-based media. Captivate bought the Wall Street Journal Office Network in June 2014. Verifone (video screen taxi content) acquired Gilbarco Veeder-Root, which has screens at gas stations, last August. And National CineMedia and Screenvision tried to merge in March 2014, only to call it off after the Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit.
These companies are slowly building or attempting to build scale. If consolidation continues, Frey believes programmatic digital place-based media will manifest as private marketplaces, as inventory owners try to benefit from automation without losing control over inventory and pricing.