The World By Daypart
The Raleigh, N.C.-based company — which also has offices on West 57th Street in Manhattan next to Carnegie Hall — is working on that future through intensive research and development efforts. It’s starting to pay off in the form of a patent pending at the U.S. Patent Office and buzz in two industries, one that hasn’t seen a lot of change in the past few decades and another that is trying to decide how best to go digital. How (and how fast) that transition takes place will affect World Theatre’s success in the management and delivery of digital film and advertisements. Another big initiative is the creation of a 24-hour digitally interactive music TV network, supported by more than just advertising and e-commerce.
“We see ourselves expanding the market for digital entertainment and advertising,” says Robert D. Summer, World Theatre’s chairman and chief executive officer and the former head of RCA Records and Sony Music International. That begins with billboards and movie screens, but it doesn’t stop there. Plans include expanding into interactive TV, cell phones, and other consumer electronics platforms, says executive vice president Randy Daniel. “Our plan is to build out an infrastructure that advertisers can begin to [use to] build a relationship with their consumers.”
A key part of the equation, still to be approved by the U.S. Patent Office, is a mechanism within the advertising that will let a consumer easily reply to messages, so that advertisers can tailor a response and track metrics beyond what’s available now. Because it’s still in the Patent Office pipeline, World Theatre executives hesitate to disclose too much. But they say it will radically change the way people look at and respond to advertising.
“It will allow all advertisers across all media to become interactive without any impact on the media itself,” says Skip Ballou, executive vice president of business development. The system will be “media agnostic,” meaning it will work via a consumer’s cell phone, TV remote control, or PDA. “In the future, merchandisers will no longer be satisfied with simply branding messages. This will allow consumers to request more information on a company, buy on impulse, and give feedback.
But so far, the film industry hasn’t committed to digital entertainment as much as it could. Filmmakers want screen operators to switch as soon as possible, since it would give them more flexibility and room for creativity. But many of the nation’s 35,000 screen operators are resisting because of the expense.