My Startup: 30Seconds Media, Manchester

Charlie Spargo's picture
30Seconds Media

Digital media platform 30Seconds Media puts its own spin on OOH marketing.

Their high-resolution digital screens are installed in residential and commercial properties across Manchester to provide daily information from building managers as well as branded advertising to high-traffic areas in apartment blocks and offices.

30Seconds Media is passionate about making communicating with tenants easier, more impactful and more professional - at the same time as opening up a new market for advertisers.

Since starting out they've forged partnerships with leading regional developers including JLL, Urban Bubble, and X1, and since beginning installations in Summer 2018 have provided more than 170 in Greater Manchester. They'll soon be setting their sights wider, taking their innovations to further cities in the North and UK as a whole.

Founders: Andrew Sim & Jesse Liu 

Founded: 2017


The 30Seconds Media team

We spoke to the 30Seconds Media team to get a better idea of how things work.

Why did you start 30Seconds Media?

The idea came to us as a result of witnessing how building managers of the multi-tenancy buildings in which we live and work communicate with their tenants. Printing off A4 pieces of paper and sticking them to the walls to inform tenants about important information seemed to be both old fashioned and easily ignored! 

Coupled with the copious amounts of flyers that were pushed through our mailbox every week, we thought there had to be a way to marry these together - to both improve the acknowledgement and retention of the important building information, whilst additionally creating an engaging, effective and undismissable environment for advertisers.

Tell us more about the tech behind the product.

As we're the first company to be offering this service, we needed a brand new product. We manufacture our own digital displays, as nothing that already existed fitted the bill. We needed our product to be slim-bezel to be as physically unobtrusive as as possible, while offering multiple sizes subject to available installation space, as well as be high resolution to create a desirable aesthetic.

Looking at the different software available on the market, nothing quite fitted the multi-functional yet simple platform we wanted to provide for our customers, so we developed our own! 

A digital screen within 9 Portland Street
"We’re often the first thing our audience sees on their way into work."

We've created an easy-to-use application for the building managers to manage all their notices. As all our displays are connected to the internet 24/7, any content can be displayed within seconds, which means building managers can create, update or delete any notices instantly, in any of their buildings, from anywhere!

Where are you at right now?

Since we started installing in July last year we have grown significantly - with our network currently reaching 113 buildings throughout Greater Manchester, and more being added all the time. 

We install our displays into high dwell-time areas such a lift lobbies and foyers, where tenants will see them. As the displays also show the time, date, and weather, alongside the building manager's notices, our audience is already actively engaged while unreachable by traditional media.

Our products are proving so successful, we’re constantly receiving requests from building managers in other cities to install in their buildings, which will be the next step for us. We’ve been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work with some of the very best developers in Manchester, and some are now requesting our displays to be installed before a building's even completed.

Building acquisition has taken off so successfully, we now feel like we’re in a really strong position to be able to launch our advertising channel. While the top half of the display is designated space for building managers to effectively communicate their messaging, the bottom half is reserved for advertising. We’ve launched with each display housing five eight-second ad slots to be played in a continuous rotation; each ad will have a 20% share of voice and be visible every 40 seconds, 24/7. 

With coverage across residential and commercial buildings throughout the city centre and beyond, we’re often the first thing our audience sees on their way into work, and the last thing they see before getting home, and unlike a flyer, they can’t throw us out!  

30Seconds Media at Skyline Central
"Our audience is already actively engaged while unreachable by traditional media."

What are your aims for the next year?

We are getting a lot of interest at the moment from both building management companies that we’ve already worked with, and new ones, both in Manchester and nationwide, which is very exciting. We're currently focusing on ways in which we can gather more analytical data for our product, as well as launching our unique advertising channel to the wider market. 

We are constantly moving our technology forward, looking for ways to improve engagement with our audience.

Geographically, we are determined to extend our network to other cities and open additional offices alongside them to support development and account management. We want the whole of the UK to be able to benefit from our offering.

What's been the hardest thing about getting 30Seconds Media off the ground?

We want to build a world class product that changes the way building managers convey information to their tenants and visitors, while providing advertisers with unprecedented access to an engaged and undistracted audience. To align these visions, we need a combination of a great team, great hardware and great software. We're very lucky to have a very talented and driven team that works well together.

Finding the right hardware was difficult when we first started. We tried a lot of off-the-shelf products, but couldn’t get them to work the way we wanted to, in order to be able to provide the solution we had envisaged - so in the end we built our own.  

Additionally, we’ve been looking to collaborate with third-party inventory and buying platforms from an advertising perspective. We are currently compiling all the information required to support our application to join Outsmart, the marketing body for the Out Of Home industry.

Why should more people be using 30Seconds Media?

The competition for attention is fiercer and more complex than ever before.

Our network of hi-res displays are eye-catching and ideally positioned within high dwell-time areas. By being placed in people's homes and places of work, in known and trusted environments, conveying relevant messages, our audience has a natural affinity with any messaging on the displays and is already engaged prior to exposure to any advertising. 

"We are constantly looking for ways to improve engagement with our audience."

We’ve had a plethora of positive feedback from brands and advertisers, complimenting our design, concept and placement. Brands fully appreciate that our audience is unreachable by traditional media - so our displays both inform them of any pertinent internal communications and provide commercial branded messages in a safe, known environment, letting brands align themselves with those feelings in potential customers' minds.

How much will it cost users - and why is it worth the investment?

As our buildings vary in size, as does the cost per display. We operate a minimum tenancy of one week, but how much inventory an advertiser wants to take is entirely up to them! 

We’ve offered packages based on a single display basis, through to our entire portfolio. We can isolate just the commercial properties, or offer a package spanning the entire city centre. We can be as flexible as our clients need us to be.

Also, because we’re independent, we can work together with clients to maximise their budgets and scale up their campaigns. The more inventory you take, the more the rate comes down. Our offerings start from as little as £49 per week.

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