Spacenet and Fuelcast Media are partnering to broadcast information and entertainment to gas stations and convenience stores.
Digital media services provider Fuelcast Media Network is teaming up with
satellite networking solutions vendor Spacenet to enable gas and convenience
retailers to offer customers video information and entertainment at the gas
"A lot of digital signage is about displaying advertising to the
consumer," said David Myers, Spacenet's senior vice president of marketing
and corporate development. "Fuelcast is doing a nice job of blending news
and information with their advertising. The customer doesn't just stand there
and get bombarded with advertising the whole time."
Fuelcast is using the Spacenet SkyEdge VSAT
(very small aperture terminal) platform to support its new enterprise satellite
network, which was announced Feb. 25. Myers said modems at remote locations of
Fuelcast customers connect to a satellite hub.
"Satellite is an inherently broadcast technology," Myers said.
"It takes a lot less bandwidth to broadcast a signal to multiple locations
at the same time, and is more efficient than performing many individual
broadcasts [as with some other telecommunications technologies]."
According to Myers, other benefits of the Spacenet-supported Fuelcast
service include the ability to broadcast locally targeted information and
messaging, and to track how frequently an advertisement is viewed.
"Ad tracking is a competitive advantage," he said. "The
advertisement doesn't start until the customer picks up the gas pump handle and
ends when they put it down. The retailer knows the exact length of the
advertisement and the time of day it was watched."
Jeff Lenard, vice president of communications for NACS, the Association for
Convenience and Petroleum Retailing, an international trade association for
convenience retailers and suppliers, said digital media services such as
Fuelcast can help retailers overcome today's extreme price sensitivity for
"Consumers will leave you to save one penny a gallon," Lenard
said. "There is enormous pressure to have the best price. However, when
you compete on price, there tends to be one winner and a lot of losers."
By providing informational content at the pump, Lenard said retailers who
sell gas can soften consumer price sensitivity and give customers more reason
to frequent their locations. In addition, he said, pump-based advertising can
draw customers into the store, which can make up for margin losses.
"Gas margins are about 8 to 9 cents per gallon, which roughly covers
credit card fees," Lenard said. "Retailers are likely losing money on
every gallon of gas they sell. The key is to get the consumer inside the store,
where margins are normal."
Lenard said the average gas fill-up takes about 3 or 4 minutes of time,
which the customer typically spends idly.
"If you can give the customer an experience
[during that idle time], you're probably going to differentiate yourself,"
he said. "You can change the equation from price to value."