Two Out-of-Home Digital Firms Merge to Form Outcast

Consolidation of Fuelcast, Bhootan Simplifies Buying Location-Based Media

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NEW YORK ( -- Digital out-of-home is getting larger, thanks to two new acquisitions bringing more scale to the growing medium. Fuelcast, a leading gas-station out-of-home media network, plans to merge with Bhootan, a retail-based out-of-home company, to form Outcast.

The merger will give the combined companies a monthly reach of 25 million consumers in more than 900 locations, with nearly 6,000 digital LCD screens in gas stations; retail stores such as Walgreens, Sears and Kmart; and quick-serve restaurants including Carl's Jr. and McDonald's.

Bhootan CEO Matthew Stoudt, who will have the same title with Outcast, said the merger was a direct response to marketplace frustration among media buyers and advertisers seeking less fragmentation from out-of-home media. "We recognized a great overlap between the initiatives we're building here and in shopping and restaurants, and thought it would be a great way to provide soup to nuts for advertisers," he said.

Similar methodology fueled Zoom Media and Marketing's recent acquisition of ClubCom, a leading international digital media network for the fitness and bowling industries.

Zoom's second acquisition
ClubCom marks the second acquisition for Zoom this year, following the March acquisition of Alloy Marketing's Insite Advertising, its closest rival in the digital bar and nightclub entertainment sector.

Dennis Roche, president of Zoom Media, said the addition of ClubCom completes the transformation Zoom has been making in becoming a leading provider of environmental solutions for advertisers. "We can sit with an advertiser who doesn't want to deal with 40 different digital vendors and say, 'We are No. 1 in bars, we're No. 1 in gyms. Who do you want to reach within those?'"

Zoom's network now includes more than 55,000 static billboards in 8,500 venues, with its digital billboards increasing to 2,250 venues across more than 16,000 screens. New gym partners under the ClubCom deal include X Sport Fitness, Crunch, Lifetime, Gold's and American Family, in addition to Zoom's existing partnership with Bally Total Fitness.

Pressure for metrics
As more acquisitions start pervading the industry, so does the pressure for more accountable metrics. The Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau is currently readying a standardized set of measurement practices for advertisers, which it will unveil at an event in New York later this month.

But Mr. Stoudt is already arguing that Fuelcast is the most measurable player in digital out-of-home today, citing the convenience of using gas pumps to initiate the consumer's interaction with the content. "If you're an advertiser, you know there's someone sitting there, that's actually that one-to-one connection."

Fuelcast has an ongoing content relationship with NBC Everywhere, the digital out-of-home branch launched by NBC Universal earlier this year. Mr. Stoudt said the content partnership will remain separate from Outcast's new retail properties. "We want to make sure the type of content you bring to the table is relevant to the consumer in that environment."
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