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Sprint, Screenvision serve mobile coupons at cinemas

Sprint, Screenvision and BCode are partnering to launch what they claim to be the world’s largest mobile coupon redemption network in movie theaters nationwide.

Sprint consumers can redeem concession stand savings via their mobile phones in 500 participating movie theaters nationwide. By 2010 BCode, expects to have 900 theaters participating in the mobile couponing program.

“On a monthly basis each cinema may get thousands of Sprint subscribers to interact with this platform,” said Michael Mak, founder/CEO of BCode, San Francisco. “It’s a CRM and marketing tool, and we’re creating a new touch point between Sprint and their customers.

“This is unlike sponsored coupons by a brand – this is a different environment than a retailer trying to drive consumers to store,” he said. “This is a different metric.”

BCode provides mobile-phone-scanning technology for mobile coupons, mobile ticketing and mobile payment platforms.

Screenvision is a cinema advertiser, with on-screen advertising, in-lobby promotions and integrated marketing programs to national, regional and local advertisers. In the United States, Screenvision’s network is comprised of more than 2,400 theater locations.

Mr. Mak said that the concept came from a promotion done by British wireless carrier Orange.

At participating theaters on Orange Wednesdays, Orange consumers who buy a movie ticket get the second free.

Mr. Mak called the promotion Sprint is doing a similar campaign to Orange, but with a much larger footprint for customer retention.

BCode’s service includes mobile-coupon delivery and an interactive touch-screen mobile marketing device, a MediaPlane. A BCode is a secure and encrypted text message that can be scanned by consumers at a MediaPlane.

After scanning, the consumer receives a paper coupon redeemable at the point of sale at the movie theater’s concession stand.

Moviegoers with a Sprint phone can text message the keyword SPRINT to short code 22633 (BCODE). Opted-in customers will instantly get a text message on their phone with a BCode that they will be able to scan at a MediaPlane to get their paper coupon for the discount of their choice.

Consumers can also accumulate loyalty points and personalize their BCode experience through digital content downloads like music, trailers and games. There is also a social-networking capability where consumers can update their status and leave comments in real-time.

Mr. Mak said that there is no specific age or gender target demographic at the moment, just Sprint customers who go to movies.

Because the campaign is giving consumers a reward for opting-in, Mr. Mak said that it will see more opt-ins than a simple SMS campaign for people to get more information. He also said that while Sprint is the first brand on the platform, it can be expanded and would be a good fit for movie studios.

“The campaign is running in cinemas, and not only is it great for customer retention or acquisition, the consumer is getting a real life benefit,” Mr. Mak said. “So say if you’re a studio and you want to get an opt-in list to sell DVDs to and you run an ad on TV and say ‘text to this code to be a part of this list’ – what’s the benefit?

“Here in the physical environment consumers can get something, like a candy bar or a free ticket,” he said. “Offering a real-life benefit encourages the consumer to give out their info for marketing purposes.”