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CIBC Square, The Well to feature Captivate digital video content

Captivate, which provides digital video screens and content to office buildings in six Canadian c...

IMAGE: Captivate provides digital video screens and content for elevators and building common areas. (Image courtesy Captivate)

Captivate provides digital video screens and content for elevators and building common areas. (Image courtesy Captivate)

Captivate, which provides digital video screens and content to office buildings in six Canadian cities, has signed on two large Toronto properties now under construction: CIBC Square and The Well.

CIBC Square is a class-AAA office tower complex being developed by Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines which will house the global headquarters for CIBC and AGF, as well as the Canadian headquarters for Microsoft and Boston Consulting Group. After phase one at 81 Bay St. is completed in the second quarter of 2020, it will feature 38 Captivate elevator screens.

The deal with The Well hasn’t yet been officially announced, so no details have been released. The Well is being developed by Allied Properties REIT (AP-UN-T) and RioCan REIT (REI-UN-T) on a property bordered by Spadina Avenue and Front and Wellington Streets.

“It really enhances the experience of their tenants during the work day,” said Captivate Canada general manager Barb Huggett of the turnkey solutions her product offers.

Huggett cited Captivate research which shows its screens “increase tenant communication, which ultimately increases satisfaction.”

What Captivate offers

Captivate’s content blends about 50 per cent advertising with a programming mix comprised of approximately 40 per cent news, 20 per cent sports information, 20 per cent lifestyle information and 20 per cent business information. Captivate uses live editors who curate and program information from more than 150 content providers.

While programming is provided on market and network levels and isn’t yet tailored to individual buildings, Captivate surveys tenants and property managers and owners for feedback. One suggestion the company incorporated was limiting the amount of full-screen advertising.

Captivate acquired The Wall Street Journal’s network of lobby screens in the United States in 2014 and started rolling out multi-purpose screens outside of elevators in Canada earlier this year.

“People don’t just want them in their lobby,” said Huggett. “They’d like to see them in any common area where people gather, including some of the amenity areas like fitness rooms or meeting rooms.”

Captivate’s business model has evolved, and it is now partnering with companies including KONE Elevators and Escalators, CE Electronics, Inc. and MAD Elevator to roll its content out to screens it doesn’t own.

Captivate’s ScreenCenter tool

Captivate also accommodates internal messaging.

Property owners and managers can deliver on-screen building messages to tenants through Captivate’s ScreenCenter communication tool. This includes providing a solution for elevator entrapment situations as well as offering information on such things as green initiatives, building amenities, space available for lease, holiday celebrations, philanthropy and tenant appreciation.

While elevators are usually out of service during blackouts or fires, emergency weather notices can be posted on elevator screens. Multi-purpose screens in other parts of a building can also post messages in times of emergency or crisis. Important messages can override normal content on screens for up to 12 hours and the live editors can cut in and quickly push out information when necessary.

While Captivate’s screens are generally live from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., editors can access them at any time to add information if a crucial situation arises outside of those hours.

Captivate in Canada and the U.S.

Captivate is owned by growth equity firm Generation Partners and broadcast, digital media and marketing services company TEGNA Inc. It started in the U.S. — where it also has a presence in some multi-residential buildings and hotels in addition to office towers — in 1997.

It opened in Canada, where the focus has always been on office buildings, three years later following a merger with Elevator News Network.

Captivate’s screens have 13 million unique monthly viewers in nearly 12,000 elevator and lobby displays in 1,800 office buildings across North America.

Captivate operates in 212 Canadian buildings and will install its system in 70 more properties next year. It added its first bilingual content system earlier this year when Captivate expanded into Ottawa. It also operates in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton.

Among the more prominent office buildings Captivate systems can be found in are: First Canadian Place, Brookfield Place, Toronto-Dominion Centre and the CF Toronto Eaton Centre’s offices in Toronto; Place Ville Marie, Deloitte Tower and Complexe Desjardins in Montreal; and Royal Centre, United Kingdom Building and HSBC Building in Vancouver.

While Captivate operates only in the U.S. and Canada at the moment, it’s working on further integration with non-proprietary products to support future global expansion.

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