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Nov. 30, 2020

Episode 056 - LGHAUS and OneScren.AI are focused on building the future of Digital Out of Home

Episode 056 - LGHAUS and OneScren.AI are focused on building the future of Digital Out of Home

When I started #oohinsider, it was so I could learn.

13 months later, I'm still learning but have been able to connect some of the dots of OOH along the way.

This connection was kicked off by Mike Suh, Director of Strategic Partnerships at LGHAUS.

Mike had reached out with some nice things to say about the show (thanks Mike!) and the tumblers fell into place..."you guys should totally connect with Sam Mallikarjunan and Greg Wise at OneScreen.ai".

So the introduction was made and now they're making history.

Imagine a world where you can create a digital screen network where, instead of costing you money, the value prop is that you will MAKE money...and the tech to do it comes standard on your LG screens.

Join Mike Suh and Tim Kang from LGHAUS, and Sam Mallikarjunan from OneScreen to discuss how their partnership is like Uber for #dooh where Uber gives you the car to get started and the direct line to revenue to not only pay for the car but to make a bunch of money along the way.

Check out LGHAUS at...

And learn mroe about OneScreen.ai at...

Looking for your next job in OOH? Start here: www.oohired.com


All right, we are recording. Welcome to out-of-home insider the loudest voice in out-of-home. And today we've got the media owners starter kit, the way to level up your existing network. It's going to be a really cool conversation because we've got the team from LG. We've got Sam Mallikarjunan, who we've met before from one screen.

We're going to talk today about how those two things are completely changing the landscape for out of home over the next 12 months, but especially over the next five to 10 years general. Thanks for being here. Thanks for having us. Absolutely. So we've, we've got Mike Sue, we've got SIM Kang from the LG team, Mike and I connected on LinkedIn.

So Mike, I'm going to, I'm going to kick it off right with you. Thanks for reaching out, but tell me what it is that LG does. Yeah. So, uh, we're actually a commercial distributor for LG, um, tier one distributor. Uh, we do mostly commercial displays. Uh, so we do everything from TVs, for hotels, um, to digital signage, uh, that you can put in pathway.

Kind of used as information kiosks or things of that nature too as well. Um, I've actually brought on Tim, who's our VP who going to explain more of our processes together with LG to kick it off. Yeah, absolutely. And sorry for the police background noise right now, but those are real sound effects. It's in case anyone thought we had a fancy studio and we were just layering that in that is real.

That was a real place card. Yeah. Um, it was really good to connect with you, Tim. And, uh, we very much appreciated, uh, even hearing about some of the exciting things that Sam is doing. Um, I could back up a little bit, um, and tell you the landscape of digital signage and the commercial environment. Well, it really started with, uh, you know, guys, like let's say McDonald's burger king, uh, anybody doing a digital menu board.

Um, they wanted the ability to people. It goes on that content, uh, controlled pricing, controlled new promotions. And of course, the old way to do it was to rely on your or manager, take a USB stick, put in the new contract. And while a you have updated content, well, try replicating that five, 10, 15,000 times for all your locations, you're really relying on store managers to do the most basic thing you would think it would be easy.

It is definitely not a so from a corporate level, everyone wants to be able to control all of their digital signs. Uh, at the corporate headquarters with one touch of a button and now, uh, thanks to a lot of, uh, technology. Uh, we can do that. And so most of the big brands are implementing some type of digital signage, uh, as a menu board or maybe even throughout their mall.

Um, and have. They're control of the content at their fingertips is really the true key here. Um, no longer do you need to rely on a manager using a USB stick? It's all controlled remotely, uh, either through a media player or without a media player. Um, that's what we set the stage. Um, somebody like Sam to come in and really work a lot of his magic when we heard what he was doing, we got pretty excited about that type of technology, because we know that our customers, uh, and I'm not talking about the QSRs, but let's say if you were a boutique hotel or if you're even just a, a smaller restaurant chain, you have digital signage either throughout your lobby or throughout your.

And now, um, somebody like Sam can just plug and play with his technology to create any digital signage, whether it's a commercial model or even a home, a consumer model, convert that signage into digital ad space out of home space. That's really, really exciting. Especially now with pandemic, many, many retailers are, are, are hurting a lot.

And this really gives them the ability to generate some, some revenue and eventually even paid for that screen itself. So if you wanted to set up 10, 12 displays throughout your store, um, somebody like Sam comes in and loads you up. You're on a, you're on a marketplace, but I don't want to steal too much of a spender.

So Sam, I want to toss it over to you because I feel like you can really describe, uh, the power of your offering here. Yes. I think you pitch it better than we do. I was going to say I cut and print. We're going to just take this one to a, to post production. Thanks for hanging out folks. A Sam, welcome back concept management.

That's something that we've talked about. What's new in the world at one time. A lot. Uh, and by the way, Tim, I don't know if we told you this, this, uh, this started off as just a hackathon with some former colleagues trying to help small businesses. That was the concept is, uh, you know, fundamentally a TV screen isn't any different than anything else.

Got a processor. It's got a hard drive, it's got some antennas in it and it's got a screen. Uh, and so we had the idea of worldly. It's got people looking at. Yeah, exactly. Right. And so what if we could take the, the phone, we have smart phones. Why couldn't we have smart signage first, you know, smart screens.

Right. Um, and, uh, part of what to do by the way is, uh, you guys are officially in our investor deck now because, uh, we'll have the ability to hopefully run as an app instead of having to mail out a device. Uh, But yeah, that was the concept, like some easy way for people to connect their screens to something that was smart.

That was real time that they could monetize. Um, it could be ads, it could also be apps. So either third-party applications or like, it's funny, you mentioned, you know, quick service restaurants and stuff like that. We've got, uh, a bowling alley that wants to use it to just like put it. Specific beers and specials and other sorts of stuff inside their, uh, you know, inside their own store in real time.

Uh, and from our perspective, it doesn't matter, right? Like we just want to give people control, uh, let them have insight into how many people are near the screen and how they're behaving and things like that. Uh, and then let them use that screen to make the experience good for the people that are there.

You know, it's, it's interesting, right? Because for the media owner listening, I, you know, I'm thinking, how does this, you know, how could I plug this into my network? Right. Can I, can I use this across, like a multi-screen multi-state multi-national network? Is, is that, is that something that you guys are playing around with?

Yeah. So again, in terms of things I didn't realize was optional because we're not from the out-of-home space where, you know, I spent all my career in SAS and e-commerce for the most part, um, you know, a lot of. Media owners are managing their inventory on a spreadsheet. Uh, we sort of just from the ground up, built this nice little Google calendar rip off.

Yeah. It's it's all right. Like you can just drag and drop and create your loops and the working off of Excel spreadsheets. But what you guys got is very cool too. Yeah. Uh, and you know, it's, it creates a lot of value for people. Um, you can. Very easily manage all of your inventory in real time. See what's sold, see what what's available, uh, or, you know, see what's undersold, right?

It's part of the inspiration for this was I was doing a product launch in Germany last year and I was, they had already sold out of all the airport and hotel sponsorships. I was like, I will pay you 10 X, whatever you sold those for. Uh, but without there being like an auction or something like that, there's no, they're like, that's not how this works.

Um, That was part of the inspiration here is you never want unsold inventory, but also, you know, Mike Bloomberg wants to blow a half a billion dollars in three months. Almost none of that goes to out of home because there's no, without an auction, there's no way to price that out. And without that real-time control, like the, uh, the BD owner being able to say, I have real-time control over all of my screens, no matter where.

Yeah, it was really trying to, uh, have somebody get him my number when he was, he was about to spend that money. So. All right. So we've got, we have the ability to do this at scale. I love, I love what you touched on there. Sam, where, where the, the user, once they get control, they're finding different ideas and ways to use it.

Tim, how do you see that working in the reverse back to your clients? How, how could they benefit from having control? Of the content, whether it is for ad space, whether it is for promoting their own specialist or maybe something that we haven't even thought of. And how does that benefit them at scale?

Maybe we can get more into like the time savings the financial aspect was it really mean? Great question. Um, I think the hardest thing for. Uh, I'll take a grocery store, for example, there's many of them here in LA that have set up digital signage throughout their stores, uh, whatever they want to promote.

Um, they're a smaller retailer. They're not, uh, they're not aroused. They're not, you know, any of these other guys, but you know, they still want to do things and they still want to lift sales. So, um, I was really surprised when I saw a lot of digital signage throughout their grocery market. The hardest thing for these guys is to have content up there to sell their ad space, uh, to make it so it's not a hassle so that they don't have to actually hire somebody full time to make sure those ad spots are sold because let's face it.

They're not going to be, they're not aroused. They're not connected with, uh, many of the other agencies. They'd want to have somebody just do it for them. So even if it's them putting up their own content, that's easy enough, but let's say they want all their other partners to sell on that space. Well, now they could just direct them to one screen and Sam and they could purchase these things outright.

And Sam mentioned another good point about airport. Uh, if you know anything about airports, typically they're dominated by, um, at least the digital signage throughout the Concourse, like a JCB coat, maybe a clear channel used to these big, massive 98 inch screens hanging. They do a great job. Of course, putting that up there.

It's no cost to the airport. Of course, uh, Jason, the co picks up the tab, but now if you think about it, well, you know, they're only offering, let's say. 60% of ad revenue. Uh, every airport is different, but some, somebody like lax, the probably at the 60%, um, which goes to Lex well now Lex can just say, Hey, it's worth it for us to invest our own money.

Into digital signage, put it throughout the Concourse and have it be bid out so that we don't have a situation. Like what Sam just said, where, well, I'll offer you 10 X, you know, let me, let me go inside there. No, even the airports themselves, they don't want to hassle with selling edge. They just want to have a platform for it.

And if it's the highest bidder will get. Yeah, they're happy right now they can collect, let's say a hundred percent of that ad revenue and they're not paying market value for a deal that they signed five years ago. They're paying the market value and getting the benefit right away. And I think that that's what makes it really powerful to hear about, uh, the, the exciting stuff that, that one street is doing.

It's, it's cool. Like, and it's cool that you guys have found this way already so quickly to, to work together because. Like the entrepreneur in me hears. Okay. I could get this screen with a system that will give me analytics will give me the ability to instantly monetize this screen and manage it from anywhere in the world.

Mike, what sort of opportunity does that provide? Uh, maybe a smaller player in the space. Maybe somebody who's got grocery store relationships and has some sort of advertising in there, but now they have an opportunity where, Hey, I can, I can swing a stick, like a JC Decaux and come and put in screens here because there's a way to monetize it.

Mike, what, what sort of opportunities exist now for somebody that's thinking about other ways to monetize the relationships that they already have? Um, so, I mean, you know, you're obviously creating inventory by doing this. Um, it's a huge thing because like in advertising, programmatic has become a big. A big form of buying.

I would say this real-time bidding and just having the access to this inventory online and being, um, accessible to it and having easy options to buy in a matter of milliseconds. So I think that this really generates inventory for advertising agencies. Or even multi-buyers to just buy on their own without professional consulting, if they don't need it.

So mom and pop shops are even able to buy ads on these screens, even on a local level to support the business down the street. Um, as well as you know, depending on location. You can see, uh, let's say like in a retail space, you know, like in a Plaza per se, uh, during closed hours, you see, uh, you know, displays going, uh, going off turn turned off or not even advertising any products.

So you can see a lot of business owners. Utilizing these screens, even during, you know, off hours to generate revenue for other companies or, you know, brands as well. So I see a lot of opportunity here just opens up inventory for a lot of buyers, uh, whether it is on a large scale or small scale. Um, but it really presents, you know, the opportunity for your brand to be seen, you know, constantly and more frequent.

Um, and for landowners, for building owners and for businesses, I think it's huge to really maximize these opportunities because you know, you're always, you always have, uh, expenditures going out. So this provides you, um, you know, more accessibility is more pros that you could build upon it. It's cost centers become a profit center.

This. I got to pay a cable bill on every month is now making me money, Sam. Like what, realistically, what could a screen host expect to make from like that small business level? If you could use a average bar restaurant, how much could they stand to make it? It's a tough question to answer. Uh, it depends on how many people are there and also how much advertisers value it.

Right? Like if you've got the barber shop that all of the fortune 50 CEOs go to, you're going to make more than the, you know, grocery store, uh, in the neighborhood where I grew up. Um, and the, the real answer to that is they're going to make the right. Uh, it's not going to be, you know, it's not gonna be oversold.

It's not going to be undersold. It's just about like rationalizing it. Auction marketplaces are, are good ways to rationalize it. Um, but you know, I remember back when I popped Google ads on my blog spot, back in the mid two thousands to take us all back a bit. Uh, and like just how magical that felt like you put one thing in super easy, it's free.

And then you start getting like a check in the mail. Uh, you know, such a, such a cool feeling and you know, my blog wasn't particularly popular. What was your blog about a lot? Uh, it was about marketing. Yeah, just marketing entrepreneurship stuff. Isn't it. Two thousands. Right. Um, but you know, I, I made an appropriate amount that for, for what I put into it.

Um, and, and part of that too. You know, these companies need to, especially small businesses that we care about or the retail environment. We keep hearing about the retail apocalypse, et cetera. Uh, and the business model itself needs to evolve, right? Like if we want, not every store to be Walmart. The business models themselves need to evolve.

They need additional ways to monetize their own customers. So ads are a great way to do that. So are the, the, the store content, the experience content that Tim was alluding to in terms of, you know, driving better sales and adoption of their core business model, uh, and they need ways to acquire customers more easily.

So. Part of what I love is that you can take out your earnings or you can just essentially trade space on your wall for space on somebody else's wall. If it thinks you're you have shared customers. So like a lot of small businesses get their customers from local word of mouth. Uh, can we scale that up and enable customer acquisition at scale, without them having to, uh, to invest capital into, into, you know, spending money on advertising, essentially.

Um, so that's, that's the exciting part. It's. It's. The first person that we set it up with, actually, I think thought we were a scam. Um, so we did the big, uh, the big like printed check thing. I went to signs.com and got one of those. And he was like a barbershop in Somerville and we gave him a check for like 500 bucks.

Um, but again, it's, it's supply and demand, right? Because it's an auction marketplace. And he was like the first one we had like 10 screens. Uh, so he made like a lot more body and it sort of varies over time. Um, but the thing I, the thing that I want to like con explain to people is just think differently about the way that you are thinking about your business, right?

Like you, you want to have real time control there. It might be that you're going to make the most money. By renting that screen out to a third party as an advertiser or for an app. Uh, but it might also be just that, like, you want to do a much better job of communicating with your customers. Uh, you know, the, the USB thing, uh, is, is funny, right?

You, you should be able to control that almost at the corporate level, right? Like we're not selling enough Whoppers. In, you know, in these 10 stores. Uh, so I'm going to dial up, I'm going to like make the Whopper image bigger and juicy or something like that. Right? Like that's sort of granted the control of the experience is what they need, because that's like such a cool thing and now I'm hungry.

Um, but. I can do dynamic digital out of home. I could have a big old billboard that has a weather trigger on it. Right? So that as soon as it drops below 32 degrees, the, my coffee price goes down a dollar. Cause I want you to come in and get a hot cup of coffee, but then also I could control the screen so that as soon as that thing happens and my ad changes, my board changes and my POS changes.

And now there's no confusion. Is, is that like Tim? Is that, is that a realistic possible? Uh, absolutely. You know, I don't, I don't know the details of how one screen will set it up, but it sounded like, uh, they had a lot of customer data. Um, so if they have a lot of customer data, I'm sure implementing just weather data, all these other metric points, key points, uh, isn't going to be that different.

Um, to layer on top of, um, and I just want to add a couple of things to what Mike said earlier, because, uh, I, I liken what one screen and Sam is doing to California's solar policy or, or California's, uh, lighting retrofit policy. What happens there is that they know that there is a lot of lights that use a lot of electricity.

California's willing to pay you to have those switched out so that you use and consume less electricity. Well, the guys that are doing it, or the actual installers, the general contractors, these kinds of guys in all world, that would be like a system integrator, um, an integrator or an integrator who goes, and they installed the TV.

They Mount it to get it set up. Um, so I really see opportunity for those guys because they're going to be the ones motivated to say. You will make X amount of dollars, uh, for your store just by having these eight screens up buying from me, you'll get your money back. And I don't know, uh, eight months, nine months, whatever the ROI measures out to, but now for them, they have an opportunity to sell their signage, but know that the owner will eventually get his money back over time.

And now as a small business owner or an AB integrator, I can go out and say, offer it to anybody in any way. Um, on, on any street corner. Um, and I think that that's right. What's really exciting about this. And that's what spurred a lot of California's initiatives. Of course they have the same thing for solar.

They have it for energy storage systems. Um, this could be our component to doing out of home, um, by, by having this revenue component, that'll really help small businesses and even medium sized businesses everywhere. So pretty excited about that opportunity.

What they think is best for their business, for their customers, et cetera. Um, I mean, we are big believers in platform strategy. After our last interview, Tim, I made you read that a platform strategy book by Marshall van Holstein. Uh, you know, it's like, uh, Nintendo or what was it? Apple made more money off of the launch of Pokemon go than Nintendo did.

Right? Uh, it's like my new favorite party fact, by the way I dropped that. I mean, it, it works. And so, I mean, we want to, we want to unleash, uh, unleash people to, to build whatever experiences they want. Uh, whether fine, like, uh, this is what API is that just in, from the American press Institute. It's, uh, it lets us connect, connect things together with what people want to use.

Now, people are Googling Googling American press Institute for the first time. So shout out free, free plug there from Sam, Sam. I hate to be doom and gloom here, but you know, right before we started recording, we were talking about shutdowns. Like what's what, what's the potential impact of shutdowns around the country and, you know, the, the growth.

I mean, from our perspective one, we have a lot of essential businesses. So grocery stores, doctor's offices, things that aren't going to be subject to it. Um, the other thing is even when you do shut downs and phased reopenings, that was part of the original concept. I mean, we were sitting in a cigar lounge in Boston and he was already having to be at a reduced level.

And we're like, crap. We've got to find some way to make up for the couple of hundred dollars a day in revenue that he's losing with reduced capacity. Uh, and that, that was sort of the Genesis with this is, you know, we will eventually go back to full capacity. I mean, I don't know the black plague ended in Europe at some point, right?

Like nothing goes on forever. Um, but, but still like there's to be a period of time where they need ways to diversify revenue, they need ways to acquire customers, just let them build their open. Right. Like w ways to do marketing and communicate with customers. Um, and then as we go back to the new normal, I think the, the fundamental business model of the brick and mortar experience is going to have evolved.

Um, I see it again as the internet has a lot of bad things about it, but it also has a lot of good things about it. One of the good things about it is that it lets you create. A very unified experience for people, right? Like I can go from one website to another website, very easily and different companies can reach me on different websites.

We should have that same experience in the real world. There was more real world than internet. I like these tiny little screens are way over weighted in terms of their power compared to what happens if we make it easy to connect the experience between businesses. Um, so I mean, it's, it's, it's going to be, it's going to be very hard for a lot of, especially small business owners.

Uh, And it's uh, yeah, no pressure. We had one restaurant owner. I'd be like, oh cool. If you guys get this spun up, it could mean the difference between me hiring another person backer or reopening at all. I'm like, oh, thanks. Start-ups aren't enough pressure as it is. Um, you make it real different. So that, that matters, right?

That, that one other person, that's a, you know, that's, uh, that's a mother, that's a father. That's, uh, it's somebody who's just trying to make ends meet and that's, I mean, that's a real world difference. That's I think that's pretty powerful stuff. Thinking about the reduced capacity size inside of a venue.

It's a conversation that I had last week with Nick Haggard, from Alpine media about the ski resort environment and how it really ultimately becomes a more curated audience. Do you see it the same way? Do you think that that attention becomes ultimately more valuable when you're in a limited capacity? I hadn't thought about that, but yeah.

Uh, two of the dimensions that we look at our, uh, dwell time and social distraction. So if it's something where there's a lot of social interactions, I'm not really going to be paying attention to the environment around me because I'm paying attention to the person who's right next to me. Um, you know, that sort of digital signage and digital ads are going to be less effective.

Um, yeah, there's going to be less, less distraction. There's going to be more, uh, More opportunity for people to engage with content on smart screens. Um, and then, yeah, there's also just going to be less, uh, less people, um, who are going to be interesting to those out of home audiences out of home has usually been about like scale, right.

Get the biggest screen possible in front of the most people possible and just really hope that the people . Yeah, exactly. Um, I think this is going to force. Uh, marketers to get to think differently about how they create campaigns, how they're talking to the audience and how they're targeting and, and pricing, uh, you know, the strategy around their campaigns.

Um, when you can't just rely on the fact that on like the law of large numbers to accidentally help you hit your goals. And I was excited the first time we talked, I'm even more excited now. Um, shutdowns be damned. There's a lot of cool stuff going on, Mike, what are you most excited? Right now doesn't have to be work.

Tim's not listening. You can. Uh, well, I was just at the world series, uh, you know, watching Dodgers and win game five. So I'm wasted. Yeah, actually, uh, so I'm, I'm waiting for baseball to come back. Huge fan of baseball was born in New York, so I'm a Yankees fan. Uh, my dog's name is Yankee he's right here. Hey, I had a dog named theater, so.

Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, I'm excited for things to get back to normal. Um, I'm excited for, you know, this one screen partnership. Um, there's, there's a lot of things. I mean, I'm, I'm thankful for a lot of things Thanksgiving's right around the corner, so yeah, I'm just happy to be here and, uh, yeah, I'm looking forward to next year.

Once this pandemic finally, you know, fades off, think we're all excited about that. Tim, what are you most excited about right now?

I'd say gosh, time to think about it too, but Mike's story was more interesting. Um, uh, I, I am thankful for, uh, for Thanksgiving, you know, obviously, uh, won't be as big this year, but we will get to see some family that are coming in. No 6% basis, uh, quote unquote. But, uh, I, I'm very thankful that, uh, everyone is safe, at least my immediate family.

And so, um, I couldn't ask for anything more, especially in 2020. So, uh, hopefully the health continues. Uh, hopefully we, we all grow past this and the new normal next year. So he's actually the dog father. So congratulations. I have a dog swag. Otherwise that hook yet, maybe we got to add it. I don't know.

Let's see. Damn. What are you most excited? How our Thanksgiving's going to be small. Uh, our two dogs, my wife and I here in, uh, here in new Orleans. Um, I'm excited that Tim and I actually share something by the way, we're both, uh, Packers fans. Uh, I found that out, uh, a while back. Um, yeah, I'm sorry to have an impact, right?

Like it's, I have a personal life rule of like don't fight battles, not worth winning. Um, Good, but it also means that you have to find a battle worth fighting. Um, and there's a lot of, uh, you know, we keep talking about the new normal, but, and what that means is that there's a lot that has to change, uh, and, you know, change brings the, the chance to work on interesting things in a way that, that, uh, that can be net positive.

So, um, also frankly, this has just been a lot of fun because, um, Almost everybody on our team right now is also from the early days of HubSpot. So we're a bit, we're kind of like getting the band back together, uh, which I didn't think I was ever going to get to, you know, have that feeling again, of, of, of working with a team like this on a cool project.

So, um, I've been really grateful for that too. It's it's awesome to work with. And what better time to get the band back together then 20, 20, come on. Let's make it the best ending that we can. This has been a lot of fun guys. I think that there's going to be a lot of value from the small local entrepreneur to the small media owner.