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The Economics of FREE. Free Digital Signage.

The cost of deploying a digital signage solution is one of the biggest obstacles that prevents companies from buying a network. Sellers often try to explain how the initial investment will be repaid over a given period of time by the resulting ROI. But, still managers and business owners balk. Their hesitation is sometimes due to not having a full understanding about where the costs originate. In any signage system, the investment will include the digital screens and other hardware, software, content generation, and installation.

Below, I'll explain each of these areas in more detail. I'll also describe a few of the ongoing costs that companies must plan for when they're ready to invest. You'll discover how much money is truly required to set up a signage network.

Hardware And Software

You'll need screens, player software and hardware, content management software, and mounts for your screens. The final price you'll end up paying will depend largely on the number of screens you want to use. A 40" LCD model will cost approximately $1,200, depending on the brand and resolution. The player software will cost under $500 while the player hardware should be under $1,000.

Content management software can be priced within a wide range starting at a few hundred dollars and rising to thousands. The more robust and flexible it is, the more you can expect to pay. You'll also need display mounts for each of your LCD screens. Sturdy ceiling mounts will likely costs over $200 each.

The Cost Of Content

Content is a wildcard. The price is based upon several factors, many of which you'll control. Oddly, a lot of business owners and managers completely forget to add this cost into their projections. Or worse, they believe the content isn't important and can be patched into their network (for example, from local TV stations). So, I'll clarify this issue now. First, you're going to need content for your signage and you'll need to pay for it.

For example, static creatives works well and can be designed in a compelling manner. You'll need to devote several hours for each screen you want to create. It can be done by someone on your staff or by outsourcing the job to a creative agency. One static screen created by an agency will probably cost nearly $1,000. And it's important to note that static creatives are the least expensive content you can create. Animation and video production costs will climb quickly.

Installation And Support

Most digital signage companies charge in excess of $1,000 to install a small network. The price rises with the number of screens. Often, they'll build this cost into the package deal, making the dollar figure hard to identify. So, ask them how much they're charging.

You'll also need technical support which is typically priced on multi-year contracts. A 3-year contract might cost $1,500 per screen, but you'll have access to a trained staff who can provide help whenever you need it. If your company has a capable support desk, you may be able to add the signage network to their responsibilities. That said, you should have a resource available to provide higher levels of support when necessary.

Projecting The Price

I've explained the major costs involved with investing in and deploying a digital signage network. They are substantial, which causes many business owners, managers, and operators to postpone the purchase. However, keep in mind that prices continue to drop on the hardware and software (technical support costs seems to remain constant or rise over time). For example, prices charged in 2004 seem ridiculously high today. The important thing is to include every potential cost when considering the investment. That way, you'll avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.

And the answer is

With MediaSignage the software solution is free. This removes a major pricey component from what makes Digital Signage so hard to adopt. Plus we give you free online daily support.

We believe Digital Signage is the way to go for a real ROI and if your investment includes free quality software such as our solution; you are way through getting some real bang for your buck.

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