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Dollar General Corp. has joined the growing number of retailers with in-store television networks. In March, the small-box discounter (stores average 6,900 sq. ft.) began the initial rollout of Dollar General TV (DGTV) to 500 locations in 13 major markets.

“Dollar General TV will be the primary in-store information source for the millions of Dollar General shoppers in search of great values on brands they know and trust,” said Beryl Buley, division president of marketing, merchandising and supply chain, Dollar General, Goodlettsville, Tenn., which operates some 8,200 stores in 35 states.

With the initial installations completed, Dollar General is conducting quarterly rollouts of the remaining locations in 2,100-store increments. It plans to have the in-store network up and running in 4,200 locations by September, with chain-wide installation targeted for January. Once the full rollout is completed, Dollar General expects the medium to reach 100 million viewers monthly.

The in-store TV network is being installed and managed by SmartPic Advertising, Sarasota, Fla., as part of an all-inclusive turnkey program and with no hardware investment by Dollar General. It broadcasts five-minute loops of content on 37-in. plasma screens. The loop is scheduled to change on a monthly basis, although SmartPic also has the ability to change it on a real-time basis. The programming is a mix of both vendor- and retailer-supplied content, which is integrated into the loop by SmartPic.

The plasma unit, fully equipped with sound, is designed to allow advertisers to take advantage of multiple exposure levels, ranging from static billboards to full-length commercials. The ad emphasis will be on consumables, reflecting the chain’s strategy of playing up food products to increase shopping frequency and capture market share.

The retailer will also connect the network with shoppers online via a dedicated DGTV microsite on its main Web site that will air an identical content loop and allow shoppers to download coupons and link to vendor Web sites. The microsite will be incorporated into promotional e-mails sent to shoppers.

Dollar General is taking a different route from other discount retailers that are employing multiple screens throughout their stores. Instead, the chain is installing a single screen in each store, above an end-cap upfront. (Dollar General circulars, coupons and other promotional materials will be located in the same area.) The promotional content will be used to complement activity across a range of other media used by Dollar General, including print and online.

The screens are located close to end-caps promoting TracFone Wireless. The company, which supplies pre-paid phones to Dollar General, has signed on as a principal sponsor of the in-store network for three years.

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