Meet David - a seasoned vet of the digital out-of-home industry who plays a critical role in growing Vistar Media’s supply-side business. After working at a variety of digital signage organizations including The Preset Group, Obscura Digital, Screach, and most recently, The Rail Media, David has become an evangelist for Vistar’s suite of media owner solutions. From helping Pursuant Health adopt Vistar’s full-stack to helping TopGolf reimagine the potential of their sports entertainment screens, David has worked tirelessly to build strong publisher partnerships. Recently, we spoke with David to learn more about his role and experiences as a member of the Vistar team.
What's a fun fact about yourself?
David: I recently became a dad. My son, James, is now 2.5 months old. My wife, Catherine, and I couldn’t be happier. We recently brought him to a Vistar team event at a bowling alley (with noise-cancelling headphones, of course), and he loved it.
Tell us how you made your way to Vistar
I’ve been involved in the digital signage and DOOH industries for over 10 years. From my early days as an industry blogger to launching DOOH networks and phone-to-screen mobile applications, I have watched this sector evolve. After working on a few startups outside of the industry, I knew that I wanted to work for a startup that was disrupting the DOOH space. I saw Vistar as that company. A few mutual industry friends connected me with Vistar’s CEO, Michael Provenzano. It just so happens that Vistar was expanding its supply-side efforts at the time, and I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to join the team.
What's the most exciting part of your job?
I love working with media owners, and helping them realize the vast opportunities that come from leaning into a programmatic platform like Vistar’s. I welcome the chance to step inside of a media owner’s business, offering advice and technology solutions to grow its operations. I count myself extremely lucky that I get to bring media owners an offering that includes embedded revenue and the opportunity to unlock new sources of digital demand.
How would you describe the changes in digital out-of-home in the past 5 years, from a publisher’s perspective?
Wow. There’s almost too many to list. First and foremost, I believe publishers today recognize the pitfalls and challenges that must be overcome in order to succeed as a long-term media business. Many failed publishers operated under the “if you build it, they will come” approach to DOOH. They falsely believed that if their networks had enough scale that advertisers would flock to buy their media.
The industry as a whole has matured. While there will always be new entrants to our sector, I believe that there are a lot of seasoned professionals and companies in place to help entrepreneurs launch successful networks.
With a company like Vistar providing access to digital demand, independent of a media owner’s direct sales efforts, publishers today have a strong foundation to build off of. It significantly reduces the overall risk of launching a DOOH network. Furthermore, it allows companies that you may not immediately see as media owners enter the space. This includes retail kiosk operators, point-of-sale manufacturers, and really any business that has a strong real estate footprint.
For publishers today, the total cost of network ownership continues to decline. Thanks to cheaper displays, lower cost media players, and the impending launch of 5G mobile broadband, a company could start a new DOOH network with a much smaller initial capital investment than 5 years ago. This, in and of itself, creates a world of opportunities for innovative companies and entrepreneurs.
Can you share one of your favorite customer success stories?
I am immensely proud of the work my colleagues and I are doing with our partner Topgolf. In working with a company that’s growing as fast as Topgolf, it’s exciting to be on that journey with them. As a company that has its roots in digital as much as out-of-home, we were able to offer Topgolf a solution that fulfilled their digital signage and dynamic ad serving objectives.
As an avid golfer, it’s really fun to work with a partner that is redefining people’s approach to the game. In supporting the digital elements of the overall Topgolf experience, my colleagues and I at Vistar have the unique opportunity to engage guests at Topgolf venues around the world.
What strategies or tools do you think publishers need to embrace to maximize the value of their inventory?
I believe that publishers need to own the “digital” in digital out-of-home in a more concrete way. This means, not only embracing, but putting into action everything from cross-screen mobile retargeting to geotemporal audiences and closed-loop campaign measurement. In order to do so, publishers need to use systems that enable them to sell to digital buyers as easily as OOH specialists.
There needs to be a fundamental shift in how publishers view their networks. As opposed to advocating that publishers just “break the loop” entirely, I want media owners to recognize that spot-based campaigns can coexist with digital buys focused solely on impression delivery. At the end of the day, we’re passing instructions to computers that use the information to define a screen experience. Instead of thinking of a network’s loop structure as completely fixed, publishers will realize the greatest revenue opportunities by embracing dynamic content and ad insertion. Ad serving and spot-based campaign delivery are not mutually exclusive. They can coexist to give a publisher the ability to continue selling as it always has, while giving a media owner the chance to evolve its sales approach toward a more digitally-centric future.
What is one thing you wish you would have known prior to joining Vistar?
I wish that I would have known how much exchange revenue we have been delivering to our media owner partners. That was one of the most eye-opening aspects of my first week at the company. The numbers were much larger than I originally expected.
We’re just beginning to promote some of our media owner success stories. Once more publishers, network operators, and manufacturers realize the amount of revenue they could be garnering from Vistar, you’re going to see us grow our publisher partnerships at an even faster rate than we’re doing today.
Interested in working for Vistar?