NewsLink is a dynamic and innovative airport concession operator, combining first-class service, a broad and unique variety of products, and trend-setting store designs to deliver airport travelers a unparalleled shopping experience. The management and operating teams have over 50 years of continuous experience in the airport concessions industry, dating back to 1959, including a wide range of airport concessions from newsstands and gift stores to specialty retail and bookstore concepts.
NewsLink currently has newsstands, news and gifts, news and café, sundries concessions and food and beverage concessions at Miami International, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Boston Logan International, Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International and Cleveland Hopkins International Airports. With a dedicated team of more than 500 employees working in their newsstands, retail stores, restaurants, cafés, warehouse and distribution center and corporate offices, NewsLink is constantly looking for opportunities to expand their business presence.
NewsLink operates a number of airport venues that require key information to be distributed to customers in a timely manner. Instead of using traditional static displays, such as print or backlit signs, they wanted to explore more effective mediums for communicating with viewers, which ultimately led them to digital signage. The initial implementation was to take place at Miami International Airport, which is one of the leading international passenger and freight airports in the world and services more than 38 million travelers each year. In this facility, NewsLink operates multiple concession locations, including a BookLink Bookstore & Café, a Juan Valdez Café, as well as The Shoppes at Ocean Drive, which includes an over 1,000 center atrium area with 38 foot ceiling heights, all of which would benefit from digital signage.
- Showcase promotional materials
- Improve the effectiveness of branded content
- Enhance the in-store experience for guests
- Provide a user-friendly interface for content creation
- Make updating content more efficient
The project began in January of 2011 and called for 65 screens to be deployed across each airport venue. In order to meet NewsLink's requirements the digital signage solution needed to be centrally managed to mitigate additional labor, as well as to ensure that updates could be made in a timely manner across the entire network. The solution used to power the system also needed to produce visually appealing graphics that would catch customers' attention and create a memorable in-store experience.
With the high volume of travelers that pass through Miami International Airport, NewsLink recognized that there was an opportunity to capitalize on this by placing screens within each of their service venues, in order to provide information that is easily accessible and visually appealing.
To best address their business requirements, NewsLink selected Omnivex Moxie software to power their digital signage installation. "A main factor in selecting Moxie was the ease of use it provided in creating content. The software allows you to create your own unique content and design templates while providing a user friendly interface that I felt very comfortable working with," explained Digital Content Manager, Joe Vaccarino. "At the same time, it offered the functionality to handle the kind of rich content and high-resolution media that we wanted to display," he continued. Moxie also offers advanced scheduling capabilities which allow staff to construct schedules with single and repeating instances of particular layouts and playlists, making managing the content for various screens much simpler. From a network management perspective, it allows the user to monitor and make updates remotely, which for Vaccarino, who is responsible for both content creation and scheduling, represents a significant benefit.
In the atrium, at The Shoppes at Ocean Drive, the focus was on enhancing the in store experience and making effective use of the 1000 square foot space by displaying a variety of branded and promotional content. The shopping center is the first ever retail concept of its kind and it was important that NewsLink maintain its cutting-edge, high-energy look-and-feel. A challenge NewsLink faced was ensuring that the space was not overwhelming to the senses. "We didn't want to bombard people with too much different content and risk making customers feel confused or over stimulated," explained NewsLink's MIS/IT Manager, Omar Curiel. "The solution was to create compelling content that would live on one entire wall, and then duplicate it around the atrium. This kept everything in sync, so that no matter where the customers were standing the same message would be seen at the same time." To achieve this, 60" Sharp displays are used to showcase a variety of branded video content as well as high-definition news images with brief headlines. The software updates this news content every 10 minutes to ensure that viewers are seeing relevant, up-to-date headlines.
In the Prive Café within the bookstore and in the Juan Valdez Café, NewsLink was looking for a more effective way of displaying menu items. Menu board content changes constantly as prices fluctuate and new items become available and it is not only tedious to update this information manually but can often render it irrelevant. To combat this, 47" displays were installed to provide a clearer and more visually appealing representation of menu items while also automating the process of updating content. The moment a featured item or price value changes in the café's existing data system the value on the menu board changes instantly to reflect this. In the case of the NewsLink bookstores, the focus was on creating an effective advertising medium whereby screen space can be purchased by publishers whose products are being sold in the store. As is the case in the cafés, 47" screens are now located above newsstands to showcase promotional content which runs on an automated schedule. This allows NewsLink to profit from multiple external advertisers who can purchase varying amounts of screen time, depending on their budget.
The decision to implement digital signage at their various business locations in Miami International airport has proven to be a successful venture for NewsLink. The effectiveness of the installation is reflected in the impact it has on customers as well as the impact it has on the staff managing the system. Not only has it led to improved efficiencies and enhanced the in-store experience for customers, but it has also served as a revenue-generating tool. Vaccarino alone is able to create and distribute content, making updates more timely and effective which subsequently reduces the ongoing cost associated with managing the system.
The sale of advertising space has also contributed to driving revenue and offsetting the cost of the initial implementation. NewsLink has experienced significant interest from publishers and advertisers looking to capitalize on the visibility of the signage throughout the airport bookstores. From a customer perspective, the signage has helped to improve the visibility of key messaging while also creating a truly memorable in-store experience, particularly at The Shoppes at Ocean Drive.
Future plans for the network include expansions to other NewsLink operated venues across the United States. Digital signage will soon be seen in all of their bookstore and newsstand locations, and all future cafes and other food & beverage locations will utilize digital technology to display menu boards. "Given the success we have experienced so far, digital signage has become a design and store planning standard in all our retail and food & beverage concession locations," said Ziad El-Assad, Director of Business Development at NewsLink. "We now consider it when planning for all of our airport projects as well, because we see the value it offers," he ended. NewsLink estimates that another 21 displays will be added to the existing 65 screen network at Miami International Airport in the near future.
By striking a balance between being impactful and informative, NewsLink has seen great success since implementing digital signage. In an industry where staying innovative is a key component of being successful, NewsLink has proven that they are ahead of the curve, and always focused on providing the best experience for their customers.