Clear Channel Goes Digital In U.S. Malls

Clear Channel Outdoor is furthering its strategy to offer more digital video display venues through a partnership with Montreal-based Digital Advertising Network (known as DAN Media). Starting with a rollout in 10 locations in the New York and Los Angeles markets next week, the media company is creating the first U.S. network of full-motion video displays for food courts in 200 malls nationwide.

Analysts have not been briefed on the project yet, but one company follower said it “makes a lot of sense” and meshed with Clear Channel Outdoor’s digital growth strategy.

As part of the venture, Yahoo! will provide continuously updated content, including financial, sports and entertainment news, as well as content from the trend-tracking Yahoo! Buzz Index.

DAN Media has a similar network in Canada, with a weekly reach of more than 8 million consumers. The 10 initial food courts in the U.S. network will reach more than 6 million shoppers and grow as more malls are added, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Software will allow advertisers to display different ads simultaneously at different sites and change them on a day’s notice.

“We like the food court space because we have a captive audience,” said Donna Baker, president, Clear Channel Digital Mall Network, noting that almost half of mall visitors fuel up at food courts with an average stay of about half an hour.

The 4-by-16-foot three-screen displays will give marketers the option to buy all the screens or wrap around content. The network can repurpose TV ads (without audio) or use ads created for the venue, Baker said.

Clear Channel is pitching advertisers with cell phone-based promotions, and flights are being sold like traditional outdoor space in four-week increments.