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No escape from TV as Pixman hits streets of Singapore

Country's size & tech infrastructure makes it ideal for ad, b'cast tests

SINGAPORE — First came MediaCorp’s TV Mobile providing TV on public transport. TV spread to taxis, elevators, mobile phones, lavatories — now even MacDonald’s is trialing in-restaurant Channel M.

There’s no escape from the tube, not even on the street, thanks to Pixman — men who prowl busy shopping centers and business districts with screens strapped above their heads.

Singapore’s small geographical size and advanced technological infrastructure make it an ideal test bed for advertising and broadcast projects.

“You can easily pipe TV content into a lift,” says Steve Black, managing director of Emotive Display. “High-rise office buildings often show news or business news channels. But it is a marvelous advertising opportunity as people will watch TV to avoid eye contact.”

Mediaedge:cia was among the first to employ Pixman in Singapore on behalf of client Sony Ericsson.

“This is way beyond simply a walking billboard,” says Michelle Wong, group account director at Mediaedge:cia Singapore. “The interactive element also gives the consumer a chance to experience the product on the spot.” The technology allows passers-by to send images and music direct to the Pixman screen.

In December, McDonald’s began to roll out 42-inch plasma screens into 120 of its 134 restaurants islandwide to air Channel M. It airs vignettes from National Geographic Channel along with musicvideos and ads.

“All content is delivered to all stores via ADSL, thus providing the ability to target specific regions of Singapore,” explains former Star TV advertising sales veep Dave Sulzmann, now managing partner in Pioneer Media Asia, which handles sales for Channel M. “This means content can be customized — more international in the city, but local language in the heartlands or suburbs.”

At the moment, says Sulzmann, audience measurability is based on viewer response to onscreen offers and competitions via mobile phone texting. “To enter the competition they must answer a quick question about their age or interests,” he adds.

But out-of-home viewing is still largely neglected by viewer measurement methodology in Singapore and much of Asia.

Sports channels in particular would benefit from syndicated out-of-home ratings because so much sport is watched in bars and coffee shops.

The company Taylor Nelson Sofres teamed up with U.S.-based Arbitron to trial Personal People Meter technology in Singapore, and it still hopes to get the pilot up and running.

“There are a number of tests being done in the U.S. on measuring out-of-home with the PPM,” says Taylor Nelson Sofres Singapore managing director Phillip Jones, adding that he would be very keen “to do a pilot in Singapore if (we) can secure funding and the hardware to do the test.”

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