How GSTV Entertains, Informs and Saves Lives — All From a Pit Stop

GSTV has achieved incredible reach in the United States, and its team has made the most of it. Built In sat down with CEO Sean McCaffrey to find out how.

Written by Conlan Carter
Published on Apr. 30, 2024
How GSTV Entertains, Informs and Saves Lives — All From a Pit Stop
Image: Shutterstock
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For the average American, smartphones, GPS navigation and digital roadsigns are some of the many screens drivers might rely on in a given day. But can one digital screen — strategically placed at a gas station pump — play a pivotal role in rescuing a missing child?

That’s the question  GSTV — a novel digital media network featured on the integrated screens of fuel pumps across the United States — answered in 2019. Working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, GSTV has since shared over 500 posters of missing children on fuel pump displays, with over 350 children being reunited with their families.

Beyond GSTV’s usual programming of news, advertising, music and more, the company has partnered with organizations like FEMA and the CDC to deliver important messages to over 40 percent of Americans every month — all from the convenience of a pit stop.

“Through these partnerships, this team has exemplified our core tenets of social accountability and valued actions by giving back to our local and national communities,” said CEO Sean McCaffrey.

Since its formation in 2017, GSTV has had a journey of reinvention and growth, finding more ways to creatively engage with consumers every year. Paying close attention to trends and contemporary ad technology, the last seven years have seen GSTV feature its first Superbowl ad, a new in-house content studio, an expansion into EV charging stations and a new partnership with TikTok.“GSTV sits at the intersection of consumer behavior and digital media trends,” said McCaffrey

 

 

Sean McCaffrey
CEO • GSTV

To get a sense of where GSTV is going next, start with its origin story. Built In had the opportunity to speak with McCaffrey to get an inside look. 

 

What prompted you to join at the inception of GSTV?

I came on as part of a new leadership team when GSTV launched in 2017. Since launching, GSTV has transformed every area of the business, from the content experience that plays on our network to the technology we’re building to ensure our network operates at top efficiency for years to come.

 

“GSTV sits at the intersection of consumer behavior and digital media trends.”

 

Early on in the journey, where did you look for inspiration?

One of my most important jobs is listening — to our team,  partners,  clients and the marketplace. Understanding how we create value for our advertisers and retailers, for example, is crucial to driving their growth and ours. Ensuring that our team members have the tools and structure they need to succeed and an open and collaborative culture where they can contribute at all levels is also crucial.

The advertising market and consumer behavior are moving too fast and evolving too quickly to assume any one insight is forever —constantly listening and enabling a culture of learning is how I stay focused and inspired.

 

A fuel pump display screen, streaming content from GSTV.
Shutterstock

 

What is a primary goal you’ve helped tackle at GSTV?

Since coming on as part of the leadership team, one of our main goals has been to increase the value we offer to our core audiences by solidifying our product offering and improving the tech platform by which it’s all delivered. We have been able to do so, with every change led and informed by listening to our most important audiences — our brand advertisers, media agency partners, fuel and convenience retail partners and our viewers.

For example, our content features news updates from Tank’s Good News and music features from Live Nation because, respectively, we know that our audience can use a moment of good news in their day, and many consumers are natural music fans who listen to music in their cars. We’ve also conducted studies with our advertisers that demonstrate that those who work with us and know GSTV have great experience and strong results, so another goal for our business is to continue to share the value and strengths that we offer.

 

During difficult times at GSTV, what has pushed you to keep going?

We’ve achieved a lot in just a few years. One initiative that stands out to me is how we use the GSTV platform for good.

GSTV is a network in essential and strategic locations for many causes. During the pandemic, we used our network to share important PSA campaigns from the CDC through the Ad Council, supported organizations doing important outreach like Feeding America and worked with partners like FEMA to help deliver disaster relief messages.

We’ve also grown our partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to share posters of missing children and help build up an alert network with our retail partners — since we know that recoveries can often happen at or near fueling and rest stops. Through these partnerships, this team has exemplified our core tenets of social accountability and valued actions by giving back to our local and national communities.

 

What's next?

GSTV will continue to grow in size and impact. Our network is increasing its footprint and its visibility. In addition, we’re partnering with many new brands and continuing to provide data-driven campaigns with impactful outcomes. Finally, we’re forging new, unexpected partnerships across the media ecosystem to further demonstrate our value and continue to innovate our content experience. We most recently announced partnerships with TikTok and Influential to bring more creator content onto our network, so that’s something to watch for the next time our viewers fuel up.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by GSTV.

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