August 20, 2008

Innovative Floor-Based Digital Screens Reach Tech-Savvy ‘Millennials’ in Over 300 College Bookstores Nationally

ROANOKE, Va., Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- When students return to school this fall, many will notice something dazzling underfoot at their local bookstore. Over 300 campus stores have been selected to be a part of a new programming medium aimed at tech-savvy "millennials" -- the College Bookstore Network. The advanced video technology puts programming and advertising where students might least expect it, but where research shows is a highly effective location -- on the floor.

The thirty-inch, highly rugged screens can take a lot of physical abuse but also deliver highly targeted and effective marketing. Jim Currie, who helped launch Discover Card for Sears, Roebuck and Co., now heads LevelVision, which not only manufactures the screens, but also operates the sophisticated media network delivering the programming and advertising to over 300 screens on campuses across the country.

"This is without a doubt, one of the most exciting new ad and programming mediums," says Currie. "We've been conditioned to look up for advertising -- to walls, hanging posters, and billboards. But we're turning that old thinking literally on its head. Science tells us that humans naturally tend to look downwards and that vast, unclaimed space on the floor is exactly what we are dominating."

The "infotainment" programming includes short, information packed segments such as the "Top Five Ways to Go Green,""Cooking Segments," and even up-to-the-minute weather forecasts. Like your television at home, the programming is interspersed with high-value brand advertising but in this case, jumps out at your feet. Campus bookstore managers say the screens immediately attract the attention of students, a feat not easily accomplished in this day and age by traditional media.

"Students nowadays are bored by the old print and hang story," says Ali Sadeghi, Director University of Arkansas Bookstore. "They've got video on their phones, iPods(TM), and certainly computers. This technology delivers what is expected by these younger consumers and puts it in a different place, which in itself gets a lot of comments, 'wow, this is neat.'"

"It's just a cool medium that is very portable," said Jennifer Bennett, Textbook Manager at College Town Bookstore at Ohio State University. "We can place it at the front of the store to greet customers, or place it in designated aisles for promotionals."

"We've actually seen it draw students into the store," said Becky Borneman, Manager of Bill's Bookstore 238 at Florida State University. "The College Bookstore Network runs a programming loop of content on anything and everything that interest college students and its durable enough to withstand heavy foot traffic."

"Advertisers on this new network can provide some very creative content that will really captivate our shoppers," said Steve Glosh, Assistant Director of Virginia Tech Services, Inc.

"The device is attractive and draws people to it. Plus, for us, it is in the place where we have products and people are making their buying decisions," said Dennis Mekelburg, Associate Director Arizona State University Bookstores.

Made with heavy-duty glass, the digital display devices have an anti-slip finish and are safety certified. The College Bookstore Network broadcasts its programming "live" from a headquarters control room and sends it through a wireless signal to each screen, which can change programming in a moment's notice.

"One of the ideas we are seriously pursuing," says Currie, "is the use of the network for emergency alert notifications. Already, we broadcast weather bulletins and updates. With our network resources, we can instantly push out news and information in the event of a disaster and direct students to safety."

But beyond such critical programming, it's the screen's location that peaks the interest of major advertisers. For years, they've instinctively understood that the closer you get a powerful advertisement to a consumer, the greater its influence. In academic terms, it's called "proxemics," but in the language of creative ad directors at major agencies across the country, it's simple logic.

"It's easy to see how this technology makes sense. Students stand in line for their books, most likely with their friends, and the screens are a natural conversation starter," said Ilya Vedrashko, editor of the Ad Lab blog about the future of advertising technology.

With the success at so many bookstores, LevelVision expects its technology to continue expanding into campus bookstores over the next year. And already, other retailers throughout the country are looking at this new trend to learn how all the empty space on the floor once ignored, may be the next frontier for boosting sales and critical information to customers, young and old.

With offices in Roanoke and San Francisco, LevelVision is a media solutions company that brings advertising and information to previously unreachable, highly desired public and retail commercial locations. Its extensive patent portfolio provides it with a worldwide market for dynamic displays that deliver digital advertising and informational messages that are highly engaging to consumers in out-of-home locations. The Company's media solutions are scalable, network-capable, and easy-to-use right out of the box. For retailers, LevelVision(TM) provides a new source of recurring revenue from in-store advertising and increased sales. For brands and advertising agencies, LevelVision(TM) effectively engages people closer to the point of decision, creating a new marketing dimension ("proxemic marketing") that is micro-targeted. LevelVision capital has been provided by affiliates of Third Security, LLC, of Radford, Va., and SPI Investments, LLC, of Roanoke, Va., and Carilion Biomedical Institute. For more information, please visit the company's website at


CONTACT: Mike Burita for LevelVision, +1-202-420-9361,[email protected]

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