Johannesburg – Pierre van der Hoven, the chief executive of tbm Communications, wants to see posters eventually become electronic plasma screens. tbm, which stands for Three Blind Mice, was set up a year ago with seed capital of R10 million to R15 million. It likes to consider itself a new media company. It provides an advertising network through point-of-purchase plasma screens for organisations like Incredible Connection, the Johannesburg International Airport and shopping centres. The group, 48 percent owned by listed media group Hosken Consolidated Investments, plans to roll out 3 000 of its plasma screens in the next 12 months. Although the group was losing money at the moment, Van der Hoven believed it should start to break even within six months. However, he said, while tbm was struggling in the local market, the potential uptake overseas, especially in Europe, was tremendous. The company was still in the start-up phase but Van der Hoven said tbm should receive a further R100 million to R300 million in capital in the next two or three years, as it rolled out its network. Van der Hoven believed tbm’s technology would do to the advertising industry what e-mail did to snail mail. The technology allows advertisers to tailor adverts to specific screens at specific times, and to constantly update the material. “Since screens are strategically placed in high-traffic and long-dwell areas, it is almost impossible for consumers not to view the material,” he said. But tbm is quick to point out that it is not a TV. What it offers customers is strategically located plasma screens at high-traffic areas, and not at the point of sale. Van der Hoven said international research showed that up to 70 percent of people made their buying decisions in-store. “In bringing the digital experience to the media industry, we aim to lower the barrier to entry,” he said.

Source: Business Report – Max Gebhardt