Narrowcasting can be described as the digital delivery of information to a select audience. The most mainstream form of Narrowcasting is using LCD, TFT and LED displays to deliver commercial and/or informational messages.
Narrowcasting has gained a dominant position as relatively new advertising medium. The extra value lies in the fact that it can display as much content as needed, including non-commercial content. This makes it an extremely attractive medium to visitors: the blind-spot that visitors might have for normal advertisement mediums is effectively circumvented because both commercial and informational content is blended together.
Any kind of information can be served. Frequently used Narrowcasting information genres include:
- Local weather
- World News
- Local news
- Gossip news
- Public transportation information
- ‘Did you know’ facts
- Missing people information
- Company specific information
- Hotel information
It is also possible for users to interact with certain Narrowcasting installations. The content of the screen could be changed by motion sensors, joysticks, keypads, NFC sensors and SMS messages.
Ikea is using both interactive terminals for information lookups and in-store Narrowcasting LCD screens. This allows Ikea to cast a commercial message to visitors. This message contains promotions or extended information about the store’s facilities such as the restaurant. Information about a restaurant might seem trivial, it is, however, important for Ikea to persuade customers to have a meal. Food is a form of comfort and is likely to extend the total shopping time for customers within the store.
Malls all over the world are using Narrowcasting and Digital Signage screens to influence customer behavior. Stores within the mall have a contract with the company behind the mall to manage a number of commercial slides. Using Narrowcasting software they can log in to the mall’s Narrowcasting system and edit their content. Proven marketing techniques such as discounts and special offers are often used to persuade mall visitors to visit a certain store.
Hotels have their own ‘Hotel TV’. With this channel hotels are able to persuade hotel guests to use certain facilities or buy certain goods. It is also often used to serve information about local events that might be relevant to the hotel guests.
In the United States it is common to use the term ‘Digital Signage’, rather than Narrowcasting. The terms Narrowcasting and ‘Digital Signage’ do mean the same. Commonly used misspellings include narrow-casting and narrow casting. An oftenly used variation of the term Narrowcasting is ‘information screens’.