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invidis confidential 04|24: Pre-ISE CEO Spotlight Series

Dear Readers,

Ahead of ISE 2024, we are looking back at an overall disappointing digital signage year and asked the large integrators how they are aligning their business in 2024.

But first some good news:

  • Barcelona weather forecast says pleasant 16 degrees and sunshine. Almost as good as the unforgettable 2022 edition of ISE in May.
  • We pulled together an entire exhibition guide for ISE. Although most visitors are familiar with the grounds of Fira Barcelona by now, there are some changes this year in terms of what to find where, opening times and entrances. Find all the information you need here:

I am typing this in my last few hours in the office before packing up and heading to Barcelona on Sunday. In preparation for ISE this week, we did our traditional interview series with the most important (pan)European integrators. We asked C-level executives for their personal conclusion of 2023 and their plans for 2024. This helps us get a feeling of where the industry is headed, what end-customers are demanding and how different sectors are developing.

2023 was a bit of a lackluster year for digital signage: The overall growth rate didn’t live up to the expectations. This meant that some of the big integrators strategically realigned their business in the second half of the year to match the changing climate. While some of the sectors experienced an immense upsurge – such as retail media – others didn’t develop as hoped for, such as the luxury retail sector.

Hi there! I’m Antonia, junior editor at invidis. Whenever I’m not bent over my laptop writing, you can find me out and about in the local mountains of Bavaria or in a kickboxing gym – though mostly as the coach, not the one throwing punches. Together with invidis-founder Florian Rotberg, I write for our weekly international newsletter “invidis confidential”. I’m also the face behind a lot of articles on our German website.

Visual Art: Former CEO to expand retail media business

Swedish integrator Visual Art responded to market changes by revamping its retail media offering, bringing in a Retail Media Strategist to spearhead expansion. This is noteworthy in two ways: First, the strategist is the former CEO, Andreas Lind, who rejoins Visual Art after leaving in 2019. Lind’s return has been warmly received, as the positive reactions to our Linkedin announcement post showed.

Second, Visual Art has historic experience with DooH and retail media. While the DooH business was sold to Ocean Outdoor back 2019, retail media has remained an important business segment: For more than ten years now, Sweden’s largest and most innovative supermarket chain – ICA – has been one of Visual Art’s most important customers.

With the boom of retail media in 2023, CEO Pontus Meijer is convinced to meet the new demand, profiting both from the company’s experience and the now ramped-up capacities. Check out the full interview here:

Stratacache: What the industry is missing about retail media

On the sidelines of NRF in New York, we also spoke to Chris Riegel, CEO of Stratacache – somebody who is well aware of the intricacies of retail media and how it differs from traditional digital signage and DooH. Riegel pointed out what he thinks is a common oversight in the DooH and digital signage industries – the insufficient understanding of the diverse interests among stakeholders in the retail sector.

Chris Riegel also highlighted another consequence of the ramped-up interest in retail media networks: the resurgence of retail analytics. While retailers were once hesitant to invest huge sums in analytics technology, it has now become a crucial component for establishing a profitable retail media network.

In our conversation, Riegel, known for his outspoken opinions, also shared some interesting remarks on Samsung’s ambitious leap into the software business with its VXT platform. And finally, we asked Chris Riegel about the current status of his MicroLED manufacturing plans:

Zetadisplay: Strategic growth by learning from outside the industry

Returning to Europe, Swedish integrator Zetadisplay also strategically aligned its business in 2023 to achieve further growth: The new CEO Anders Olin comes from outside the digital signage industry and brings a fresh perspective to Zeta. He sees the company in a phase he calls “growth transformation”. This transformation involves the recruitment of several new management members, bringing diverse industry experiences to the table. Olin is set to instill a more corporate approach in an industry traditionally dominated by small and medium businesses at Zetadisplay. Read our interview with Anders Olin here:

M-Cube: High hopes for 2024

Manlio Romanelli, representing M-Cube, a European digital signage integrator rooted in Italy, candidly spoke about the disappointing results that business in Europe delivered in 2023. While M-Cube’s overseas operations performed well, many retail clients in Europe postponed their projects. However, that makes Manlio Romanelli all the more optimistic about business in 2024, especially in the luxury retail segment.

A success for M-Cube in 2023 was obtaining the Ecovadis bronze certification. The company adapted processes and realigned the solutions portfolio towards sustainability. Another positive outcome was the growth in digital signage software subscriptions, with existing in-store radio customers seamlessly transitioning to the M-Cube digital signage platform:

On a personal note: Before heading with full speed into 2024, we expect a strong ISE next week in Barcelona and hope to see many of you there. You will most definitely see us running through the halls or, of course, at the TWO events we will be hosting during ISE: the DSS ISE conference and the ISE Retail Forum. If you need any further reasons to join, here are five.

My time in the office is now up and I’ll go pack my suitcase.

Wishing you a lovely weekend,
Antonia Hamberger