Industry News | March 6, 2012

Subway's TV & Radio Digital Signage Network Set to Expand

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Real Digital Media, provider of the enterprise-class NEOCAST digital signage platform, and Independent Purchasing Cooperative Inc. (IPC), the independent Subway franchisee-owned purchasing cooperative, today announced expansion details for the Subway TV & RADIO digital signage network.

Designed to enhance the Subway customer experience worldwide, the Subway TV & RADIO digital signage program aims to better inform customers of its food and drink options, introduce new menu items, and enhance the visibility of in-store promotions. The program is an elegantly designed marketing and sales vehicle streamlined to fit within the daily operations of franchisees’ restaurants.

The network has been expanding rapidly since it was launched in 2010. Approximately 1,000 installations have already been deployed in the U.S., with more than 500 installations in the Los Angeles market area alone with plans underway to soon expand into international markets.

"We have experienced rapid integration into our 500 restaurants,” says Bob Grewal, Subway franchisee and development agent for the Los Angeles area. “We are confident that the addition of digital signage will enable us to better communicate with our diverse customers and drive future growth.” 

“Subway’s goal is to continually increase the value of the franchisees’ investment in the restaurant and to help them successfully compete in the [quick-serve] industry,” says Dennis Clabby, IPC’s vice president of purchasing, commenting on the network’s growth. “With digital signage, we are building a viable, cost-effective program to help our franchisees reach their customers with timely product and promotional messages that influence customer behavior at the counter and increase sales. Designed to increase store profitability, the strong positive response of the franchisees and the rapid growth of this program is very encouraging.” 

The Subway TV & RADIO programming is a mix of video featuring Subwayproducts and promotions, and streaming music delivered via the Internet. Franchisees are currently deploying Subway TV & RADIO in the "queue" where customers place their orders. The digital signage program includes high-quality hardware such as Nexcom fan-less media players and Samsung 40-inch commercial-grade high definition displays.

“Partnering with these quality vendors ensures that our franchisees install equipment that is highly reliable and designed for a 24-hour restaurant environment,” says Brian Wheeler, director of franchisee services at IPC.

Programming content is supplied and managed at a national level, but unique to Subway TV & RADIO, franchisees can influence what is played by logging on and scheduling changes through a franchisee portal. The network allows for local control of playlists across several time slots, such as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

“Given the size and scope of our business, our marketing emphasis is not on having a singular message during one particular point of time,” says Tony Pace, SubwayFranchisee Advertising Fund (FAF) senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We’re selling sandwiches all day long to over 30 million customers per week. SubwayTV & RADIO gives us a vehicle to interact with customers in a meaningful way. To streamline the localization process, Real Digital Media was engaged to develop an application to simplify and extend content placement functions to thousands of local users without relinquishing centralized control.” Fully integrated with the NEOCAST Media Server management software, this new Web-based application is called NEOCAST Director. It allows network operators to centrally identify media that is accessible to local users, who can then simply select, schedule, and place those media into already active playlists in their restaurant locations.

"Subway is a highly engaged partner and pushes us to enhance our product to meet the unique demands of their franchisees,” says Michael Baron, president of Real Digital Media. “They are totally focused on digital signage as a way to enhance their stellar brand, improve already industry-leading customer satisfaction, and make franchisees even more profitable. As the Subway TV & RADIO Network moves to quickly become the largest global digital signage network, we are pleased that we can be an integral part of the Subway family and help them achieve even greater success in the years ahead."

The Subway TV & RADIO Network operates on the NEOCAST digital signage platform from Real Digital Media. Key factors for the selection of NEOCAST include having an enterprise version that could scale to serve multiple media players in each of the more than 36,000 Subway locations worldwide; the ability to stream music programming through a media player that also handles the video programming; and the flexibility to quickly develop new features required by the IPC network operators around the globe and the franchisees themselves.

“Working with Real Digital Media, we quickly established that their software is easy to use, delivers performance as advertised and scales to very large numbers of locations without stress on the system,” Wheeler says. “Equally important, we learned that the Real Digital Media team is incredibly responsive to our needs and is willing to go the extra mile to help us launch and manage a network of this scale. We continue to be impressed by their capabilities and attitude.”