As AdSpace continues its rollout in Westfield-owned malls across the country, it provides us occasion to examine the market opportunity that AdSpace is attacking.

The AdSpace mall network provides the opportunity to provide a mixture of local and national messaging at the American epicenter of shopping: the mall. Local merchants will have the opportunity to promote specials on the screens, and both national and local retailers will be able to promote their brands. To effectively optimize the network, AdSpace must excel at selling and delivering both locally and nationally. On a recent trip to San Francisco, I observed the AdSpace Mall Network screens at the San Francisco Center on Market Street. While enjoying a double scoop of Haagen-Dazs as my wife and daughter maxed out my credit card, I observed the content, the traffic and the impact of the screens.

The screens are vertically-oriented 60” plasma displays, in attractive contemporary floor stand units. Content is effectively rendered and well-produced. On the day that I was there, the bulk of the “loop” were spots promoting the Mall Network itself. Victoria’s Secret a toy retailer had spots in the loop, and there were occasional “wayfinder” messages to other retailers. It seemed clear that there is space available to be bought/sold. I did notice some people stopping to observe the screens, but they are not traffic stoppers per se. It should be noted, however, that the displays and the content really lend themselves to being observed at a distance, and even on the move. Execution in that respect seems very good.

The question to be answered is how fast AdSpace can deploy, and how fast they can sell out their available ad slots. I have enormous respect for the lead investors in their most recent financing, so I have little doubt that the team and plan are in place to execute. Give them time. For us here at RDM, the Mall Network’s demonstration of the importance of mixing national and localized messaging underscores the strategic advantage of our SpotSwap™ capabilities. It seems clear to us that the old saying that “all politics are local” can be twisted to fit our industry: “all content is local”. Increasingly, the ability to make narrowcast messaging relevant across a geographically and demographically disparate network will determine the overall success of the network. AdSpace appears to recognize that, as does RDM. Cookie-cutter content won’t win the day.