Playbill Passport Taps Gimbal, Urban Airship To Geo-Target Broadway Theatergoers

The 130-year-old theater listings magazine has gone mobile and will serve contextual ads to 41 Broadway playhouses.

Playbill Passport
Playbill Passport

Proximity platform Gimbal and its frequent app-based marketing partner Urban Airship are taking their act to New York’s theater district as part of a program organized by in-theater tech company Broadway Voice.

The tech platforms will essentially “usher” mobile messages to theater patrons as they take their seats at on- or off-Broadway shows.Playbill Passport, the companion app to the 130-year-old Playbill magazine of live shows and related info and listings, will get those targeted notifications. The Playbill Passport app has a presence tied to 41 Broadway theaters and plays.

“Playbill Passport allows us to expand on the services we’ve been offering to Broadway audiences for over 130 years,” said Philip Birsh, Playbill’s president and CEO. “Broadway just had its best-attended and highest-grossing year to date. We are in the midst of an exciting theatrical renaissance. Times Square is booming with new businesses, thousands of offerings and no real touchstone to maximize the experience.”

The Playbill Passport app will bring Gimbal's proximity marketing and Urban Airship's mobile messaging system to attendees at 41 theaters.
The Playbill Passport app will bring Gimbal’s proximity marketing and Urban Airship’s mobile messaging system to attendees at 41 theaters.

The promise to enhance the theater-going experience includes Playbill Passport sending its app users background information about the show they’re attending, as well as recommendations for other shows of interest. Ticket discounts and other offerings will be presented within the app as well as promotions for nearby restaurants and bars.

Along with other tools in Gimbal’s arsenal, which includes beacon hardware and software for indoor marketing, as well as geofencing around outside locations, the Playbill Passport could also provide the first big test of the company’s integration of Phigital.

Gimbal acquired the startup, a developer of mobile apps that promotes and connects location marketing with a place’s own imagery and digital presence information in order to create a fuller online-to-offline experience for smartphone users searching for places to go. While the addition of Phigital’s assets into Gimbal is still in the works and is expected to be fully operational.

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David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.