Hundreds Of Local Movie Theaters Will Soon Become Beacon Hot Spots
(MarketingLand.com, January 28, 2016)
The days are long gone when the only things you saw at a movie theater were the movie, and previews for movies.
These days, it’s not uncommon to watch as much as half an hour of on-screen ads before the movie previews start. Oh, yes, and there’s also a movie.
Those pure movie-only days are getting further away, with the joint announcement today by Mobiquity Networks and Screenvision that they will install and manage iBeacons throughout 300 multiplexes in the U.S. to create the largest movie theater-based mobile ad network.
Mobiquity runs what it describes as the biggest network in the U.S. of retail mall-based beacons for mobile ads — nearly 500 shopping malls — and Screenvision has a cinema advertising network covering almost 2300 movie theater complexes in the U.S., representing 14,200 screens. Discussions are now underway with marketers about specific ad/marketing campaigns...
Beacons will be used, instead of GPS-based location marketing, so that mobile marketers can determine exactly where the moviegoer is, inside the complex.
Beacons employ low-power Bluetooth transmissions to emit a location ID to a listening mobile app, which then communicates the location via cellular data or WiFi to the marketer’s server, and receives back location-specific marketing. Because the beacon has a specific location, the location can be very specific inside a large building, as opposed to, say, geo-fencing that just locates a facility.
iBeacons cannot be monitored remotely without modification, but Screenvision Chief Marketing Officer John McCauley said theater personnel will keep an eye on them.
The customer needs to have a supported app installed, such as two movie-related ones, MovieTickets or Dealflicks. Meckley said that some retail shopping apps used in the Mobiquity networks, like Shopular, will also work. The apps do not need to be open to receive the beacon’s location or to receive and show push notifications, as long as the user has opted-in.
A moviegoer who just left a screening might receive additional marketing relating to the movie they’ve just seen, such as a coupon for a Star Wars mask. Or they might get a coupon for an ad they saw earlier in the theater. If they are using the MovieTickets or Dealflicks app, and they bought their tickets through that service, they might receive an ad or coupon related to the movie as they’re waiting in line to see it. Another possibility: they might be pinged with a coupon for a discount on a large popcorn as they walk by the concession stand. The companies said the user engagement data will be shared with the theaters.
At this point, you might be shuddering — as I am — at the thought that moviegoers may also be receiving ads or coupons while they’re in the theater, and maybe even during the movie...
“At this point,” Meckley told me, the mobile marketing will not be delivered “while people are in their seats.” He added that he doesn’t “envision that, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen,” if marketers can find a way to enhance the screen experience.
As someone who has also been involved in interactive media for several decades, the fact that many movie theaters utilize digital video projection these days raises the interesting possibility that there could be interaction between your smart phone and what’s on the screen...
Meckley suggested there might be interactive quizzes communicating with what’s on the screen, or voting on alternative endings. Read More
Analysis: This is scary on so many levels. First, from a personal consumer experience perspective, there is way too much advertising already. Second, that they can pinpoint exactly where a person is in the theatre is unnerving, PARTICULARLY since the odds are high that the person a) did not knowingly opt-in (despite the supposed opt-in policy, since it could be buried in the fine print of a ticket acquisition app), and b) once started, there is no way advertisers are going to stop at promoting only pre-movie ads, e.g. there will be pings, pops, and music blurbs constantly going off during the movie. Not to mention that the app doesn't have to be open for the app to use your location, your data will be shared after the fact with theatre owners (for more spam once you get home!), AND it's possible for the operator to monitor your theatre activity real time. If theatre owners want a sure way of driving even more customers back to their homes, this is it!