Kroger, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the nation's No. 2 grocery chain behind Wal-Mart; IBN, of Salt Lake City, Utah, provides in-store music and TV advertising services to supermarket and drug store chains.
18 months rollout
Kroger says the new in-store TV messaging system will reach 68 million shoppers weekly, following an 18-month rollout. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Until now, IBN has offered in-store radio network services to its clients. Kroger TV is its first TV project and puts it in direct competition with the better-known in-store TV network, Premier Retail Networks (PRN). PRN counts Wal-Mart, Albertson's and Shaw's among its clients.
Evan Anthony, vice president of marketing and advertising at Kroger, said he waited before jumping on the in-store media bandwagon for better technology to come along, particularly decreased costs for plasma TVs. He said he wanted to build a network from the ground up that would allow for customization by store, group of stores or other categories. He also wanted to allow the triggering of content by weather and day-part.
“We want to make sure of the measurable element of it," Mr. Anthony said. "Even now we are testing in Houston a network with people meters. It’s going to look at what the customer is actually listening to, not just what the standard is.”
Even with the Houston test, “the key is going to be: you’ve got to find a way to measure it,” he said.
Kroger TV will coordinate both in-store radio and television messages, a combination Mr. Anthony called “perfect media,” and touted as a better sell to consumer product brand marketers and media buyers.
“I can think of my company as a media company now,” he said. “This will deliver more reach and frequency than the largest radio station in the country. If you are investing in radio, do you want to invest in $1 of radio in the general market, or where the customer is making a buying decision?”