A young local business has managed to become a multimillion-dollar corporation in less than five years, its owners said.
Anuncio Digital Media LLC, founded in 2005 by local business leader David Morgan, is a Bryan-College Station-based company that provides digital signage screens to health care facilities and various businesses around the country.
The corporation recently signed a contract with Hermann Memorial Hospital Systems in Houston to provide more than 3,000 screens in their hospitals, clinics and physician offices. Each screen brings in roughly $300 to $400, company officials said.
A fairly new medium, digital signage allows information, advertising and other messages to be displayed on digital screens with or without sound. The digital screens play specialty-specific content pertaining to the location where they are installed.
Anuncio, Spanish for announcement, provides and installs the screens free of charge to the businesses, and the company's revenue is made from third-party advertising, Morgan said.
The company was launched after work with officials from Post Oak Mall on an advertising project, Morgan said. In July 2006, 16 Anuncio screens were installed in the mall, and since then more than 200 companies have advertised there.
Since the formation of the company, Morgan said, Anuncio has focused its attention on providing screens for health care facilities.
Dr. Sam Harrison, Anuncio's chief medical officer, once owned a local private practice and now works as a liaison between area physicians and the company.
"My job includes reaching out to new health care systems," he said. "Anything in the health care market, to truly be effective, needs to have experienced people to be at the forefront. It's easier for physicians to deal with other physicians."
He said the company has found a way to make the doctor's waiting room more bearable for patients. Alleviating patients' anxiety by providing information pertinent to their medical care is a key goal of Anuncio, he said.
"If you go to a doctor's office, there is not much to do when you're waiting for the doctor," Harrison said. "The more time a patient has to wait, the more anxious and apprehensive they become."
In addition to information on specific medical situations, content includes information concerning the doctor or hospital system, as well as advertising. Morgan declined to specify how profitable his company has become, saying only that it's now a "multimillion-dollar" business.
Harrison said he joined the company because he saw the business potential and wanted to be part of the health care field. The first Anuncio screen in whose installation he was involved was at the College Station Medical Center in June 2008.
"Since that time we have just exploded," said Harrison. "About 80 percent of the doctors in Bryan and College Station have the screens."
Because Anuncio is locally owned and operated by about 25 private investors, most of whom are local doctors, Morgan said, the expanding company benefits the community. He said he expects to be creating new positions to add to the 18-person staff.
Harrison said the company recently finished installing more than 1,000 screens in the Christus Spohn Health System in Corpus Christi. In addition, he has been negotiating to install screens with physicians and hospital clinics in cities that include Orlando, Fla., New Orleans, Baton Rouge, La., and Shreveport, La., and Mobile, Ala.
Anuncio has more than 150 third-party advertisers, and about 20 percent of a screen's content is reserved for advertising.
Advertisers have been quick to sign up with Anuncio because of the niche market opportunity it provides, Harrison said. Because the screens are being watched by particular audiences and not the general public, advertisers can more accurately choose whom they want to target based on the demographics of patients in a variety of specialized offices.
"We thought advertising was just going to be with health care providers," he said. "But what we've found out is we have a wide array of advertisers, varying from jewelers, restaurants, trainers."
The average cost of advertising on an Anuncio screen is about $50 a month, Harrison said, and discounts are given depending on the number of screens an advertiser wants to use.
Paul Loy, general manager of Post Oak Mall, which 850,000 people visit monthly, said he believed the ads were working, though there is no way of monitoring how effective they have been so far.
"I think that there have been some ads that have been with them from the get-go that have done very well," he said, adding that the contract goes through 2011. "I've actually used some of the services offered on the screen."