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Cineplex brings mobile offers program to 725 theaters across Canada

Cineplex is expanding an in-theater mobile program enabling moviegoers to interact in real-time with content on the big screen and receive special offers from advertisers such as Pizza Pizza and Mazda.

The TimePlay program was initially tested at Toronto theaters beginning in 2011 and was then rolled out to 231 auditoriums in 2012. With between 30 and 35 percent of users opting-in to receive offers, Cineplex is currently expanding the program to 725 theaters in all ten Canadian provinces.

“From the consumer standpoint, it is part of how we provide our guests a great entertainment experience,” said Mike Langdon, director of communications at Cineplex Entertainment, Toronto. “We have a strong preshow that the addition of TimePlay brings to a whole other level.

“From an advertising standpoint, it has been an overwhelmingly successful tool to engage movie-goers in the products and services that our marketers are marketing,” he said.

“TimePlay has already proven to be very successful in terms of delivering for our advertising clients. We see it as having a really bright future as a revenue generator for our media business going forward.”

The big screen
Movie-goers at Cineplex theaters who download the TimePlay app on their smartphones and tablets are able to interact in real-time with content on the big screen, compete for prizes and receive offers from Cineplex and advertisers.

The app turns customers’ smartphones into a game controller that moviegoers can use to test their cinema knowledge, driving skills and other challenges while competing against others in the theater.

Prizes are delivered directly to users’ devices and have included coupons for popcorn and drinks, loyalty points and advertiser discounts.

The TimePlay app has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times and seen more than 4 million plays on 231 screens in Toronto and Vancouver since January 2012.

The app is available on iOS, Android and Blackberry devices.

Custom interactive experiences
The program is proving successful for advertisers, with an offer from Mazda yielding close to 9,000 test drives while Pizza Pizza saw a nearly 50 percent redemption rate on an offer for a free medium pizza.

Advertisers can also sponsor a game or develop a custom interactive experience.

“In general, the consumer is much more connected and the movie theater is no exception,” said Aaron Silverberg, vice of marketing at TimePlay, Toronto. “Whether they are on their phones before the movie starts or buying tickets from a mobile device, clearly mobile is here to stay and will become even more important going forward.

“What TimePlay does is it is a platform that transforms smartphones into a game controller for another screen; it could be a movie screen, a jumbotron in a stadium or a screen in bar, and also allows users to connect, play games and get immediate feedback in terms of individual performance and to get rewards,” he said.

“Cinema is our flagship channel. You have a captive audience, you have a screen, it is the epitome of what you can do.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York