Matt Young of APOP MEDIA – INDUSTRY INSIDER

Since you’re reading this, the odds are good that you have experienced the waiting room of a cannabis collective. Is there a television? Are they showing an old Cheech and Chong movie or information about cannabis that can help inform your purchase?

If it’s the latter, the odds are that the programming (and the television) is from Apop Media. The Los Angeles-based media company, co-founded by CEO Matt Young in 2015, has become one of the largest providers, with televisions and programming in 120 California collectives and doctors’ offices. They’ll soon expand to Washington, Colorado and Canada.

For Young, it’s about not only improving the waiting room experience, but also showing the products available at the collective and helping patients decide what’s right for them. And forget the old-fashioned chalkboard with the strains of the day. Apop (short for “At Point of Purchase”) Media also provides televisions to serve as informational platforms and digital menus.

“I want to help broaden the industry to where everyone has a place, to where a 70-year-old with arthritis can get the best topical for their needs.”

“You’re taking a TV that was playing non-cannabis-related content, Scarface or I Love Lucy or whatever, and transforming that waiting room into an educating and engaging experience,” said Young, 45. “We’re improving the look and feel of the store.”

Collective Experience

Like many an epiphany that has come out of coastal California, Young’s occurred to him while he was surfing.

It was 2008 and Young, a longtime entrepreneur, was looking for his next big thing. He had recently been forced to shut down his company that made an energy drink mix called “Blow,” white powder sold in a vial that was the equivalent of three Red Bulls. It seems the feds took issue with marketing a product that was similar to cocaine.

While waiting for a wave on his surfboard, he floated past his neighbor, who happened to run a medical cannabis collective. The neighbor was having trouble finding good product and Young, who knew a thing or two about cultivating, offered to get involved.

Flash forward several years later—Young had enough of the red tape and constant risk of being arrested or shut down, so he sold his interest in the collective. But in his experience running it, the idea for Apop Media was born.

Ambience and Information

Like many collectives, Young’s was in a small, out-of-the-way location, with a sales room that couldn’t accommodate more than four patients at once. That meant a waiting time for patients that averaged between eight and 25 minutes. He was also frustrated by the inability of budtenders to keep up with new products and strains.

With these two problems in mind, he and co-founder Rebecca Brinegar launched Apop Media in 2015.

“The initial thing was, ‘How do we help the patients and how do we help the store owners get the correct information to the patients?'” said Young. “Being a dispensary operator, every Monday we would have training, and by Wednesday the training would be misconstrued . . . It was very hard to keep the staff informed of all these new products all the time.”

Being a dispensary operator, every Monday we would have training, and by Wednesday the training would be misconstrued . . . It was very hard to keep the staff informed of all these new products all the time.”

It works like this: Apop provides flat screen TVs to collectives at no charge. In the waiting room, the TV plays a constantly-changing array of ads, educational segments and entertainment clips on a 15-minute loop. The programming is tailored to the collective’s demographics and what products they sell. Dispensary or collective operators can program the text of a crawler at the bottom of the screen, like what you see on cable news networks, with such information as hours, sales and specials and other details.

Apop also provides free horizontal televisions to be used as digital menus, to help patients compare prices and learn about what’s available. There might be one for flower, one for edibles and one for extracts.

The programming is advertising-driven, and dispensaries can actually earn up to $1,000 a month by selling enough products from advertising partners. But Young sees Apop Media’s TV services as more than that, as helping make the dispensary or collective a more appealing experience.

“We have this whole market of people coming in. Dispensaries are intimidating places. As a personal option they don’t know all these brands. They don’t know what the medicine is, what it does. A lot of them don’t know what vaporizing is or how edibles work,” he said.

“I want to help broaden the industry to where everyone has a place, to where a 70-year-old with arthritis can get the best topical for their needs.”

apopmedia.com

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