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Supermarket group IGA is set to invest in a 2000 screen in-store retail TV network after both Coles and Woolworths dropped the idea. The network will be fuelled by Co-op dollar advertising as well as local services advertising.

Set to be hit will be free to air TV stations, that will now have to compete with retailers, who will demand co-op dollar advertising support, for their new retail TV networks. In some cases vendors supplying retailers will have no choice but to support the networks, if they want their products ranged, say retail TV analysts. 

Four years ago Woolworths set up a task force to investigate retail TV in their struggling Big W stores while Coles tested the concept in several Melbourne stores. Both organisations dropped the idea after research showed that consumers would not necessarily take notice of advertising on the network. Another big issue was the cost with commercial grade plasma panels at the time costing over $10,000.

 In 2005 advertising agency group George Patterson was attempting to get a retail TV network off the ground in Australia however this was dropped after threats of legal action and the sale of the Company, to global advertising group WPP.

Also considering an investment in retail TV was the Pacific Equity Group, this was also dropped after both Coles and Woolworths showed little support for the concept.

At the time both Wal Mart in the US and Tesco in the UK were rolling out retail TV networks. 

The concept of a retail TV network has been around for a long time and the roll out of a 2,000 screen network in IGA who attract over 5 Million visitors a week, could eat into the revenue streams of TV stations say media buyers. There is also no evidence that it will lead to an increase in sales for products sold in store.

 

Sellers of retail TV systems are hoping that as costs steadily fall, “digital signage” will find its way into mass-market retail. Already chains like Myer, David Jones, Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi have rejected the concept however some retailers are now looking at the screens as a revenue stream with the retails set to “heavy” manufacturers and distributors to spend on their networks as opposed to free to air networks.

According to ChannelNews sources one major consumer electronics chain has already held discussions with several vendors about supporting an in-store retail network.

The new IGA Network is being delivered by digital signage Company Pronto whose Managing Director was described by one major supplier of retail TV systems as “a bit of a dickhead” after he blamed “geeks” for previous in-store TV failures.

In a recent Sydney Morning Herald Story he said “Generally it’s technical people trying to sell their equipment,” he said. “Technical people aren’t looking at this from a marketing point of view.”

However a senior executive at Panasonic said “This statement is totally unsubstantiated as there are several major Companies such as Panasonic and NEC who have both content delivery systems, commercial retail TV Display screens and a wealth of retail TV marketing experience from around the world. For example we are working with some of the biggest retailers in the world including shopping centre chains and airport authorities to roll retail TV systems. The comments by Pronto were immature and a bit of a dickhead statement”. 

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