The Stanley Cup finals are upon us. They begin Thursday. Something new this year is the localized “rotating” boards. Digital signage has taken another leap. For those of you who don’t watch HNIC (Hockey Night in Canada) or other broadcasts, the “rink boards” have changed. There was no pun intended there. But the rink boards have changed and continue to change. The rink boards you see sitting in the stands in your favourite barn are different from what I am seeing on TV in my home in Nanaimo and still different from what my buddy Seamus is seeing in St John’s, Newfoundland. All at the exact same second!
So, now that we understand that exists, the question of today’s topic arises. I will not address the digital work, or the costs and deliverables or such, but whether it is healthy /ethical. What raised my curiosity was the following Twitter post Issue of NHL’s Digital Ads for Those with Epilepsy back in January. Individuals with epilepsy (and other cognitive and nervous system ailments) are deeply affected by the constant flickering of the digital ads on the TV, so this father has had to stop his ritual of watching HNIC and other NHL broadcasts with his young daughter because of the impact the digital ads have on her as she has epilepsy.
So, where do we draw the line? A few weeks ago, I wrote about “doing well by doing good.” It has been six months, and as far as I can see, nothing has been done to improve the scenario for this young fan (and probably many others) to be able to watch her favourite sport with her family. I know that huge dollars are generated through this new digital ad program and they are needed for long-term viability and profitability. Let’s face it—I sold NHL broadcast sponsorships for a decade and am still in the industry as a consultant. My living is made in this sector. I know that this is “progress” and represents new or enhanced revenue opportunities. But can we not find a way to create a filter that allows those with epilepsy to still watch this great sport? I find it dumbfounding.
Let me know your thoughts. Or if you have more information or insight, please share with me. At this point, I can see no move to find a way to continue to generate that revenue and also allow avid fans affected by these digital ads to still be fans.
For me, this is unbelievable.
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