Fisher stations pump content

Jun 18, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Last month, seven space-age-looking media terminals packed with video information cropped up in lobbies of office buildings in downtown Seattle.
These Civia Media Group terminals, which are 81/2 feet tall with 42-inch plasma screens, offer passers-by news, live weather maps, live traffic video from various locations and information about local entertainment events, all of it piped in from Fisher Communications-owned ABC affiliate KOMO-TV, Seattle.
The screen is broad enough for several people to interact with it at one time using touch-screen technology. “Broadcasters and other content publishers are seeking a competitive advantage. They’re seeking to extend their brand, generate new revenue, increase their audience,” said Scott Herrmann, president and CEO of Civia Media Group, in which Fisher Communications is a majority shareholder. “The question for the broadcaster is how do we extend that so we get a broader reach and create new sources of revenue out of what we’re already doing today?”
Mr. Herrmann said the Seattle-based Civia believes it has created a new public medium, one that bridges broadcast, Internet and display advertising.
The television station distributes its Web site content to Civia terminal servers, eliminating the need for manpower at the station to organize the information. The terminals use the station’s Web site content without editing or modifying the content.
“We’ve developed proprietary software applications on both [the] front and back ends to make it all work,” Mr. Herrmann said. “This has to be highly automated, because from a business model standpoint, you can’t just keep throwing people on it.”
Civia hopes to expand to hundreds of terminals around the country at locations including public transportation facilities, cinemas, hospitals and hotels in each television market.