LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- As digital out-of-home video networks continue to gain legitimacy among marketers and media planners thanks to new Nielsen-backed research, the consolidation of those networks continues as well.
This week Access 360, a retail-based company that programs and sells ads for mall displays and in-store TV networks, is acquiring Arena Media Networks, a company that sells display and video ads for some of the biggest sporting venues, including Citi Field, Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden.
The acquisition comes on the heels of a Feb. 8 Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing issued by Arena Media Networks -- a sign that even companies with seemingly top-tier inventory at major venues are struggling to get a piece of ad budgets on their own.
According to court documents obtained by Dow Jones Bankruptcy Review, Access 360 has agreed to pay off Arena Media Network's bankruptcy loan of $800,000, as well as an additional $3.6 million to $5.2 million in debt, $100,000 to Arena's creditors and $50,000 to close out its bankruptcy estate.
Art Williams, CEO and co-founder of Arena Media Networks, said the company needed to merge with a partner with a similar audience in terms of size and demographics to attract more advertiser interest.
"Advertisers and agencies have been saying to us that they're looking for critical mass from a handful of companies versus working with the hundreds of companies that come knocking on their door," he said. "While we have hundreds of millions of impressions we create annually, we were looking to partner with someone who had similar reach. Sports and malls have a lot in common in that the people who go to both venues have disposable incomes."
Lon Otremba, CEO at Access 360, said the Arena acquisition also helps Access 360 achieve what few digital out-of-home networks can claim -- presence in all of the top 25 markets, and 33 of the top 50, often with malls and arenas in the same city. Access has exclusive relationships with retailers such as Simon Malls, for example, that sync up with relationships between Arena and major sports venues in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.
"If you go to these malls, just throw a stone, and you'll hit any consumer who will buy the brands being advertised," Mr. Otremba said. "Just as in arenas, you're often within 100 feet or less of places for people to purchase products."
The Access-Arena deal is the latest in a series of recent out-of-home mergers and partnerships, including the merger last summer between Ideacast and Danoo to form Reach Media Group and the partnership last fall between Premier Retail Networks, which has screens in stores including Walmart and Target , and Indoor Direct, whose network includes screens in restaurants such as McDonald's and Arby's .