The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and its parent company, Oahu Publications Inc., are attracting international media industry interest and accolades after the newspaper’s successful launch of its Digital Billboard Network.
The network, which debuted in 2017, provides video news and advertisements on screens — many mounted on newspaper racks — at prominent retailers across the state, using what the industry calls a “digital out-of-home broadcast system.” The screens provide content that includes news briefs, third-party commercials and point-of-sale messaging for the retailers.
DBN caught the attention of an international media industry hungry for new ways to enhance revenue. Three major organizations recently lauded the newspaper and DBN for innovation and creativity:
>> In February the annual Mega-Conference — a newspaper industry gathering in San Diego — chose the Star-Advertiser and OPI as winner of its Mega-Innovation Award.
>> The next month, Editor & Publisher’s cover story selected the Star-Advertiser as one of “10 newspapers that do it right” as the magazine recognized “the biggest and brightest ideas in our industry right now.”
>> Finally, the International News Media Association named the newspaper and DBN as a finalist in four categories for the group’s Global Media Awards. The categories are best use of technology to generate revenue and engage; best idea to grow advertising sales or retain advertising clients; best new corporate innovation initiative; and best new concept or innovation to create new profit centers. The final awards will be announced in June in Washington, D.C.
Dennis Francis, president of OPI and publisher of the Star-Advertiser, welcomed the recognition as the company faces the challenges that new technology has had on the media industry and its advertisers.
“We leveraged our strengths to provide video content that was relevant to consumers and advertisers and, as a result, created a new profit center using the latest (digital out-of-home) technology that generated over $1.2 million in annual incremental revenue during its first year,” Francis said.
“Our DBN clients are excited about the results they’re experiencing with the new digital technology that provides them with an innovative out-of-home advertising option that is measurable, engages customers and creates awareness of their products and services,” he added.
The company said the DBN system offers advertisers a fresh alternative to the dwindling audiences of traditional broadcast media.
“The daily audience of the entire DBN now rivals that of a local radio or television morning show, and statistically the system is among the top five broadcasters in the state of Hawaii,” Francis said.
Also, thanks to the DBN screens at retail outlets, single-copy sales of the Star- Advertiser have increased significantly, according to the company, which plans to expand the network. Retailers now featuring the screens include Longs Drugs, Jamba Juice, Aloha Island Mart, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, Hele, Waikiki Yokocho, Don Quijote, Zippy’s and Tamura’s.