The content displayed on digital signage screens can range from simple text and still images to full-motion video, with or without audio. Some operators of digital signage networks, particularly in the retail industry, regard their networks as comparable to television channels, displaying entertaining and informational content interspersed with advertisements.
Digital signage is used for many different purposes:
1. Information – examples include flight information in airports and wait-times for the next train
2. Advertising Related to the Location to Uplift Sales – examples include in-store promotions in a retail establishment
3. Advertising by Third Parties – "Digital Advertising Companies" that sell advertising space to local merchants/service providers, media resellers and national advertisers.
4. Enhanced Customer Experience – examples include digital signage in restaurant waiting areas to reduce perceived wait-time and recipe demonstrations in food stores
5. Influencing Customer Behavior – examples include post office digital signage that directs patrons waiting in line to automated stamp machines and retail digital signage designed to direct customers to different areas of the store, increasing the time spent on the store premises (dwell time)
6. Brand Building – examples include Niketown stores where digital signage in video form is used as a part of the store décor to build a story around the brand
7. Follow through campaign information to store manager - examples within chain establishment.
Content scheduling and playback can be controlled by a number of technologies ranging from simple, non-networked media players that can output basic loops of MPEG-2 video to complex, multi-site player networks that offer control over many displays in many venues from a single location. The former is ideal for small groups of displays that can be updated via sneaker.net (the practice of physically transporting data to each location on a disc or CD-Rom, usually by walking), while the latter allows Digital Signage Network Operators to either push content to many players at once or have each player pull content from a server as needed.