Captivate Acquires WSJ Office Network, Builds In-Office Media Presence

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While monopoly may be an ugly word for many, (my sister always cheated when she was the banker) Captivate will soon own nearly 98% of all office video screens in elevators and building lobbies. Captivate already had a stranglehold on elevators, now it has acquired Office Media Network which through the The Wall Street Journal Office Network controls most lobby screens. The deal’s terms were not disclosed but it is a cash and stock deal.

Captivate extends its reach

The Wall Street Journal Office Network was born of a partnership between Journal parent Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and Office Media Network. The company began installing screens in building lobbies in 2006 and failed to make a real move into elevators a year later when it took on Captivate.

With the acquisition, Captivate, which already reaches 65 million people each month in North America on 10,000 screens, will expand its screen count to 12,000 and look to reach over 80 million.

“It bodes well not just for the future of Captivate but also for our entire industry,” Mark Shapiro, Captivate’s chairman of the board, said in a prepared statement.

Big boost of place-based media

According to the MyersBizNet Media Business Report, 2014 should see advertisers shell out over $1 billion on screens in offices, elevators, taxis, and retail locations. That is an increase of 12.6% in place-based media sales.

“This consolidation makes it easier to buy — more seamless — and expands the reach of a single network and gives us better access to inventory down the road,” said David Krupp, CEO of the WPP agency Kinetic U.S., which focuses on out-of-home. “I don’t know if there was ever a need for multiple vendors in this space,” he added.

The transition is expected to take three to four months while the two companies continue to operate independently. It’s expected that half of Office Media Network’s 25 employees will move to Captivate while the remaining employees will be let go. The companies will also face the challenge of integrating technology and operations along with staff.

The Captivate Network is made up of around 100 content providers including USA Today, Conde Nast, and Forbes. While the Wall Street Journal Office Network will cease to exist as a brand, the Journal will continue to to provide business news, joining the other content providers.

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