General Motors plans to make digital signage part of its dealership facility requirements for the first time, starting next year.
The digital signage requirement, part of GM's essential brand elements program at Chevrolet, GMC and Buick stores, will include advertising and controlled content on video screens in dealer showrooms and customer lounges. Cadillac has a separate digital signage program, GM says.
GM's U.S. dealerships will undergo an assessment of each store's needs. "The expectation is dealerships will complete consultations this year and install sign-age next year," a GM spokesman said.
GM has certified three vendors: Automotive Broadcasting Network, of Jacksonville, Fla.; DCI-Artform, with offices in Milwaukee and Detroit; and Bluewater Technologies, of suburban Detroit.
The cost per store will vary with the number and size of screens and the dealership layout.
Jerry Daniels, CEO of Automotive Broadcasting Network, wouldn't disclose specific pricing for the GM program. Last year, a spokeswoman for the vendor said most dealers who used the service spent $2,000 to $3,000 per month for a 36-month subscription, with an average 9.5 screens per store.
A big part of the appeal of digital signage is the ability to control the content on TV sets in customer waiting areas, so no ads appear for competing brands or dealerships. The host dealership, brand or GM can insert its own messages, promotions and advertising. The content can be created and distributed locally, regionally or nationally.
Nissan North America made digital signage part of its corporate design for U.S. Nissan and Infiniti dealerships two years ago, and expanded those requirements last year, a spokeswoman said.
Neither FCA US nor Ford Motor Co. requires digital signage, though Ford recommends it as part of an "interior refresh" program for dealerships, a Ford spokeswoman said.
Toyota and Lexus don't mandate it, a spokesman said, but Lexus creates and delivers digital content for dealers who choose the optional Lexus TV program.