Screenvision Taps SITO Mobile For Geo-Data Targeting In — And Beyond — Cinemas

Plans for “Project Lynx” include using Kantar Shopcom’s purchase info, with the expectation of a beacon partnership with Gimbal.

Screenvision's Christine Marino at the company's Upfront 2015.
Screenvision’s Christine Marino at the company’s Upfront 2015.

Cinema ad network Screenvision is teaming up with geo-data specialist SITO Mobile on Project Lynx, an initiative that offers national retail marketers and agencies greater ability to connect geo-targeted ads around movie theaters designed to drive in-store purchases.

Screenvision unveiled Project Lynx as part of its wider Upfront 2015 presentation to media buyers in New York on Thursday night.

In addition to working with SITO as the primary driver behind Project Lynx, Christine Martino, Screenvision’s SVP for National Ad Sales, also noted that Kantar Shopcom, the WPP Group in-store analytics unit, will be supplying third party data on consumer purchases tied to the geo-targeted ads.

Coming Soon: Beacon Blockbuster

“SITO will provide the measurements and data that allow us to target a moviegoer as well as see what those consumers’ habits are once they leave the theater,” Martino told GeoMarketing following her presentation. “Through SITO’s geofencing, we can connect someone who sees a Toys R Us ad and, thanks to Kantar Shopcom, determine if they went to a Toys R Us store three days later as a result of seeing that initial ad.”

On top of that, Screenvision is currently in talks with beacon platform provider Gimbal to install indoor marketing systems at its 2,200-plus movie theater locations across the US, Martino added.

Screenvision and SITO have been in talks about working together to create geo-based audience segments for advertisers for more than a year. Executives from Screenvision had discussed the possibility of employing beacons at theaters at its 2014 Upfront show. But beacons took a backseat as the company’s focus shifted during the exploration of its ultimately aborted merger with rival National Cinemedia.

Gimbal beacon
Gimbal beacon

Bringing Addressable Ads To Theaters

With that distraction out of the way, Screenvision can now devote fuller energies to its own ad programs.

As talks between the two companies picked up again this year, SITO developed Project Lynx for Screenvision specifically. The initiative brings together two themes that Screenvision’s clients are demanding, namely, the support between premium, broadcast-level content and advertising with audience targeting through the incorporation of mobility and data, said Evan Turner, SITO’s senior director for National Channel Sales.

“The question Screenvision’s advertisers have is this: How can we take a 2,000-theater footprint and the 10 million people a week that go into movie theaters, and capture that audience,” Turner said. “Everyone across all media industries wants to see how to move these non-targeted, traditional formats into the addressable space. That’s what Project Lynx does for Screenvision and its clients.”

Attribution In 3D

In addition to allowing Gimbal’s beacon technology to plug in to its system, SITO is also working on adding other data sources. In terms of how Project Lynx operates, SITO’s tools promise to enhance Screenvision’s Nielsen audience measurement with the mobile platform company’s own “one-to-one data” collection. From there, SITO can delivering a variety of ads — such as a 15-second video clip — to someone waiting online for their movie, and then retargeting theatergoers once they’re away from the cinema, Turner said.

“We’ll soon be able to provide even more attribution and data sources that will close the loop for Screenvision’s clients,” Turner said, adding that SITO has a dedicated account team working solely on Screenvision. “The delivery of the ads is going to be triggered by someone being at a theater and then we can layer on all the specifics that identify an audience: is this a mom taking her kids to see Cinderella or is it a college student who spends a lot of time at the gym and has just seen an action movie?”

In that sense, Turner defines Project Lynx as an intelligence and data platform that’s going to help brands engage with consumers as an essentially “captive audience” that can’t skip through a movie ad on the screen, even as they happen look down at their smartphone at the same time.

SITO's Evan Turner
SITO’s Evan Turner

Behind The Scenes Movie Magic

By using both the big screen and “the personal screen” of smartphones, marketers can pinpoint and segment the market to create greater immediacy in sending potential customers a targeted message.

For example, a retailer that advertised on one of Screenvision’s movie canvas placements can deliver a coupon with a short-term expiration to a mobile device, thereby driving traffic to a nearby store location. Similarly, a restaurant that placed a cinema ad before the movie began can send another message, as well as discounts, once the movie ends.

“While we’ll be running the delivery and data behind these targeted ad campaigns on the backend, Screenvision will have a dashboard to help them continue to sell their big screen ads,” Turner said. “We’re extending those big screen placements to mobile. But they’ll have a dashboard that they’ll be able to show clients what kind of impact their ads are having down to the level of an individual theater. It’s a true evolution of what Screenvision has been doing.”

About The Author
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.