Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/04/verizon_cinema/
Verizon sends text messages to the big screen
Don't turn off your mobile in the cinema
Verizon will be asking moviegoers about their music preferences and posting their responses up on the cinema screen as part of a new pre-movie advertisement.
The promotion starts mid-June, and will precede 3,500 film showings around the US. Punters will be asked questions about the kind of music they like, and invited to respond by text. They'll then sit through a couple of adverts from Verizon, followed by a chart showing the preferences of that audience, in that theatre, on that day.
This is made possible by Screenvision, and their 7,000 digital screens.
Digital cinema has been promised for years now - it was supposed to change the cinema into a flexible venue that could show everything from classic films to last night's EastEnders, but it's always fallen down when it came to deciding who was going to pony up the cash for it.
The studios are the ones who gain most from digital distribution; they don't have to print and distribute physical copies of films, and can make additional income by getting cinemas to show their back catalogue. But the projectors belong to the cinemas, who have proved remarkably reluctant to pay for the upgrade.
Digital cinema also makes interactive and local advertising possible - replacing the traditional lurid slides of the nearby curry house that are so much a part of the UK cinema experience.
With Screenvision expanding their deployments we look forward to a Google-Adwords-style market, where advertisers bid for a number of viewings linked to films of a specific genre - just so long as everyone is reminded to turn their phones off before the film begins. ®