Commentary

Cinema Advertising Gets Interactive, Mobile

The two dominant cinema advertising networks in the U.S. are muscling up with new digital offerings, including mobile channels and lobby assets. Not coincidentally, all the excitement comes as they woo advertisers with upfront presentations touting the benefits of sight, sound and motion on the big screen, as well as their new digital channels.

National CineMedia is getting interactive with “Monster Wall” video displays reminiscent of the eye-catching displays installed in some big airports, courtesy of Monster Media. The Monster Walls, which measure eight feet by ten feet and come equipped with NFC, photo-capture and augmented-reality capabilities, are currently being tested in the lobby areas of ten big theaters located in top markets. Passersby are invited to interact with a variety of entertainment and game content, as well as interactive advertising. If they get a positive response from moviegoers, cinema owners and advertisers, NCM hopes to expand them to other theaters in its network.

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NCM has also been testing a second-screen experience using smartphones, FirstLook Sync, which allows moviegoers to interact with content on the big screen through digital watermarking technology. Currently in beta, Sync will get its big launch this year, offering brands the opportunity to mount multichannel campaigns coordinated with lobby assets and NCM’s online presence. According to NCM president of sales and marketing Cliff Marks, “We want to be a fully integrated cinema media company,” which means “you’ll be seeing a lot more strategic mobile and social plays.”

Meanwhile, rival Screenvision is also rolling out a second-screen capability through a deal with Shazam. As reported by MediaPost earlier this week, Shazam app users will be able to use their smartphones to tag pre-show ads shown before a movie starts to receive special offers, enter sweepstakes and get more product information. Screenvision will air 15-second reminders within the preshow to remind moviegoers to take out their phones and get ready to use the Shazam app with ads.

Screenvision will also begin selling advertising using a TV ad model, including audience demographic guarantees, seasonal pricing, and show-parting, according to The New York Times, which reported the news earlier this week.

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