SAN FRANCISCO — Ecast’s Fast Track offer ended last month with more than 66% of the company’s top-earning operators signing up for the program, according to an announcement by company officials. Fast Track, which kicked off last September, allowed existing or new Ecast operators connecting to the music provider’s network by January 31, 2008, to pay no revenue share through the end of January 2010.
Ecast described Fast Track’s conclusion as the beginning of the fulfillment of a long-term strategy: to supplement coin drop with ad revenue. The company reported that growth in its location-based advertising business made possible the low revenue share program; when it launched in September, Ecast paid its operator subscribers $100,000 in commissions for that month.
The savings incentives created by Fast Track are substantial, enabling operators to expand their routes. For every five new jukeboxes connected to the network, Ecast calculated, a music vendor could save $10,800 in one year by removing revenue-sharing fees for a two-year period, assuming the average monthly earnings of each box is $900.
Ecast’s Fast Track program was paired with an initiative to lower broadband costs for operators. Last year, the company began negotiating lower rates with some 300 providers, including Verizon, Comcast, Sprint and AT&T. At the end of 2007, it reported that national program rates were in some cases 50% lower compared with rates two years ago, with monthly wireless fees dropping to $50. And these service fees now can be added to Ecast’s centralized billing service. Some operators discovered they could connect to locations’ existing services, eliminating broadband charges.
“We’re spending less and making more,” said Bill Clark of Digital Music Systems (Kent, WA).
Scott Walker, Ecast’s coin-op sales and marketing director, said Fast Track enabled the firm to use its strengths – high-speed Internet service and advertising – to implement an aggressive revenue share. “Ecast has figured out how to leverage broadband to deliver top-notch music with ads that feel like entertainment, and patrons and advertisers are responding positively,” he said.
Miller High Life, Bacardi Mojito and Absolut Pears were among the interactive on-premise campaigns conducted on Ecast-powered jukes last year. Walker said new and repeat advertisers would be running promotions on the network this year. Ecast currently hosts 10,000 digital jukeboxes nationwide.