As ShowEast gets under way today in Miami, one company is lifting the curtain on an exhibition product that is both high-tech and old-school: a 28-page augmented-reality program to be handed out free to ticket buyers.
A custom visual recognition scanner, built directly into the Regal Cinemas app, will link to online content. Moviebill will be available on the more than 7 million devices currently connected to the Regal app. Moviebill creators James Andrew Felts and Matthew Shreder, principals in Concourse Media, say that base makes Moviebill the largest entertainment-focused AR platform to date.
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While investment in virtual reality continues apace, many industry observers see more practical upside to AR, which has a lower threshold and does not require special equipment. Gaming app Pokemon Go, which became a sensation in 2016, is credited with focusing attention on the potential for AR across the media and entertainment business. Eager to preserve exhibition’s century-old place in the vulnerable movie ecosystem, Regal sees AR as a path toward creating more customer loyalty.
“Moviebill provides an experience for moviegoers that helps bring the movie to life and promotes a deeper connection to the movies in our theatres,” said Ken Thewes, the circuit’s CMO. “We chose to incorporate Moviebill because it continues our goal of enhancing the moviegoing experience, giving movie fans more of what they want directly in their hands.”
Designed as a collectible souvenir, each edition of Moviebill will feature exclusive cover art for the featured movie and will be individualized with the local theatre name and copy number. All Hollywood studios are developing AR experiences for the 2018 rollout, among them behind-the-scenes features, deleted scenes, games and talent commentary. The program will also integrate data from movie website IMDb.
“Moviegoers expect the highest level of entertainment and Moviebill provides an opportunity to deliver more value to those premium consumers at the place where they provide our industry with the greatest return,” Shreder said.
Trigger Global, the AR specialist known for film-related activations for Star Wars, The Hunger Games and Spider-Man, was hired to create the AR landscape for Moviebill.
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