Fun and Games, Coming To A Theater Near You

In the past, there have been discussions and ideas passed around by companies to interact more with audiences that go to theaters to see movies, but very few have actually launched such initiatives into fruition. However, it appears that Audience Entertainment is ready to take the experience to the next level.

The company has introduced a series of demos to TechCrunch, showing how users can get into the action by simply twisting and turning in their seats, but not to the point of discomfort. Through this, they can play along with a series of games, including tapping cubes that are falling down the screen. You can check out the video to see more of this demonstration in action.

When discussing the demos, Chief Marketing Officer of Audience, Adam Cassels, explained this was merely “a teaser” for what the company has in mind, and that other, more advanced applications are certainly coming before it launches nationwide. He believes that the technology is on the move, already available in 100 theaters in the U.S., and the goal is to generally allow it to go “anywhere where there’s a big group of people and a large screen.”It’s like any new technology – you walk before you run,” said company CEO Barry Grieff in an additional statement. “You know, when home video came out, they had stuff on it that they probably didn’t want on later, right Then they got more sophisticated. The same thing is happening here.”

The company didn’t have a launch date for the service just yet, but it appears that it’s moving right along, and it’s possible that a test in these theaters could happen sometime in 2015 – perhaps with larger audiences for movies like Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We’ll let you know once it announces official plans, of course.





Online Shopping Conquers Black Friday

While there were a ton of Black Friday deals to be snagged over the holiday weekend, not everyone made the effort to rush to the stores to get them, according to Mashable.

New data from IBM revealed that online sales for the yearly shopping event have attained new records this year, as mobile traffic has managed to overtake PC traffic for the first time ever.

IBM indicates that customer transaction data taken from Thanksgiving shows that browsing on smartphone and tablet devices accounted for an estimated 52.1 percent of all online traffic. Compared to last year, that’s a whopping 14.3 percent increase over last year’s numbers.

According to comScore, Thanksgiving actually played a tremendous part in this year’s sales, according to numbers from the report. On that day alone, over one billion was spent, a 32 percent increase over the previous year, while Black Friday saw an estimated $1.5 billion spent.

“Mobile has become the new Thanksgiving tradition as consumers find the best deals with their fingers as well as their feet,” Jay Henderson, Director of IBM Smarter Commerce explained. “We saw retailers harness the power of data to engage shoppers, identifying the unique preferences of their customers while quickly capitalizing on online, mobile or in-store trends as they emerged.”

“Thanksgiving and Black Friday both saw exceptionally strong online growth rates as each day surpassed $1 billion in desktop spending,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “The strength we saw in the early online buying rush likely reflects a few things, including overall health in consumer spending, responsiveness to the strong deals being offered online, and perhaps some shoppers opting to stay home on Thanksgiving rather than head out to the stores that opened their doors early.”

Paypal also showed an increase in purchases made, since it was a preferred payment method over traditional credit cards for some consumers. It showed a 43 percent global increase in a number of transactions compared to the previous Thanksgiving from last year.

As far as the top location for Black Friday sales, New York topped the list, with shoppers spending around $122 per order. Meanwhile, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago followed closely behind in the top five.

That’s not to say that desktop shopping didn’t play its part though. “When consumers did choose to use their PC or desktop, they spent more with an average order value of $135.33 compared to $116.02 for mobile shoppers,” a difference of 16.6 percent, according to the company.

And you can probably bet that things will get even crazier next year…


Study Shows Paid Apps Losing Appeal

There are so many applications to choose from these days on mobile devices, including both free-to-play and paid ones. However, when it comes to which ones are more appealing, there’s no question that users want to save a few bucks, according to eMarketer.

Based on a recent poll from October 2014 conducted by Zogby Analytics for the Digital Advertising Alliance, 35.7 percent of U.S. based internet users prefer free or low-cost applications with in-app advertising over paid apps, mainly due to the pricing involved. In that same group, only just over ten percent of those polled felt like downloading free or cheap ads that don’t include advertising, but instead run via in-app purchases. As for those who would prefer paying full price for an app, that percentage came in at the lowest, with 2.7 percent.

Meanwhile, that same group was also asked if they were interested in paying for free apps that were already downloaded. 46.4 percent of those believe that they wouldn’t download any of their applications again if they came with a price tag, while 15.1 percent felt that they would, but only one-fifth of those offered. Out of those polled, only 8.1 percent believe that all of them would be worth coughing up a few dollars for.

Most users have no problem with pop-up ads that appear in applications. A separate study from AYTM Market Research indicates that 72 percent of users of mobile devices have seen such ads, but only one-quarter of that audience actually interacted with them. However, app advertisers still got some attention, as mobile users that do click these ads have grown around 10 percent when it came to interaction in an app, compared to a mobile browser.

Advertisers shouldn’t be discouraged by low numbers, though. 451 Research believes that over the next few years, there will be an estimated growth in mobile app users, from 1.81 billion this year all the way to 3.01 billion in 2018. That’s a lot of pop-up ads.

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CREATIVE: Skeletor Dominates Honda’s Twitter Account

Honda is really pushing its new ad campaign, which features a number of popular toys from the 80’s as part of its line for Happy Honda Days, including Stretch Armstrong, Jem and Masters of the Universe‘s Skeletor. Now, in the latest move to promote the new series of ads, Honda has allowed the powerful villain to “take over” its Twitter account, with a number of humorous posts, under a new #skeletakeover program.

Throughout today, Skeletor has been poking fun at his nemesis He-Man through a series of tweets, including “Just discovered #ManCrushMonday. Here’s a man I’d like to crush. #mcm #Skeletakeover” (featuring a picture of He-Man), as well as playful pokes at Honda itself, such as “Went to Honda to score some deals, but apparently nobody accepts Eternian silver. #CanSomeoneSpotMe #Skeletakeover”.

In addition to these posts, Skeletor has also posted his toy-like mug on the Honda account, letting people know that he certainly, ahem, means business. And, for good measure, this business has also spread to other companies, including conversations with Burger King (where he was quick to point out the similarities between the Burger King mascot and King Randor from the toy line) and Charmin (where he insisted that the toilet paper could be used for currency).

The campaign has been a successful one, with thousands of fans interacting and tagging their tweets along with Skeletor. Some, like a user under the name @CobraCommander, have been lucky enough to get a response (“it’s the little things that count. #Skeletakeover”. However, Honda hasn’t clarified just how long the fun will last – or if other toys like Jem and Stretch will get their chance to “dominate” the Twitter account.

For now, though, it looks like Honda is certainly having fun with the campaign, and those of you who can’t get enough villainy humor on Twitter can follow the official account for a few chuckles. If that’s not enough, you can also view the commercial below, featuring Skeletor adjusting to the large confines of one of Honda’s newer models.

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Twitter To Build “A More Personal Twitter Experience” By Tracking Users’ App Use

“We are collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in,” Twitter explains in the “Help Center” section of its Web site according to Mediapost.

Twitter users may be unaware that their beloved app has more access to info on their phone than they might know or like. This is all part of Twitter’s “app graph” initiatve where Twitter is privy to what other apps users have on their devices to create “a more personal Twitter experience”. The move is similar to the way Facebook also collects user data for marketing purposes as well.

Twitter is tracking this information to better their “Who To Follow” suggestions as well as showing users sponsored content that is more interesting to them. They will continue to honor those who have opted out of their interest-based ads by not tracking those users’ information.

This new move for Twitter will likely make them even more attractive to advertisers who want to use the platform for their purposes and may be very helpful for mobile game marketers looking to expand their reach on social media.

Although Twitter advertising costs are a bit higher on the platform than Facebook, engagement with brand tweets grew 83 percent in the 4th quarter of 2013.

Shedding Light On ‘Dark Social’

A new study of consumers brings some surprising details about “dark” social network usage to light.

Thirty-two percent of consumers who share content with friends and acquaintances by digital means told Tpoll researchers they do it via email, SMS, and other peer-to-peer platforms, services known as “dark social” channels as they are not quite as easy to monitor as “light social” mediums like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

RadiumOne, the advertising platform responsible for releasing the Tpoll report, claims consumers underestimate their own usage of “dark” social channels; pointing to trends measured by their on PO.ST content-sharing widgets, they see “dark social’s” share of content sharing as being closer to sixty-nine percent, flipping Tpoll’s self-reported figure on its head and then some. 33Across’ own Tynt would seem to agree with those findings, as their work tracking copy-and-pasting of digital content found seventy percent of sharing performed via “dark social” channels.

RadiumOne’s report is careful to note “dark social”’s consequences for brands and marketers. “Sharing activity through email, instant messaging and forum posts, aka ‘dark social’, is three times larger than on Facebook, globally,” the report notes, going on to point out that “dark social” accounts for the “majority” of sharing in nineteen content categories important to advertisers including travel, finance, and technology.

As email, SMS, and similar mobile-friendly digital platforms are much harder to track and analyze than content shared on major social networks by virtue of their ad-hoc, decentralized nature, marketers will have to drill deeper than ever before to target advertisements to individual consumers as accurately as possible.

Streaming Devices Now Account For 20% Of TV Households

In just a year, Google’s Chromecast streaming device has now equaled Apple TV’s penetration. It is clear that the rise of digital streaming devices is not going to fizzle out anytime soon. The use of these devices has increased to a 20 percent share of TV households this year, a significant increase over last year’s 12 percent.

According to a recent analysis from Parks Associates, streaming devices as well as the gaming consoles whose functionalities include streaming, will be the hot gifts of the holidays. TV is still the centerpiece screen for digital streaming viewing, with over 70 percent of video consumption. Given that, digital streaming device purchases will likely reflect those that are TV-centric.

A full 25 percent of consumer electronics given as gifts this year were digital streaming devices and 20 percent were gaming consoles. That means that nearly half of electronic devices as gifts this year are intended for streaming, either “TV” or games.

Of non-console streaming devices, Roku has a 6 percent share, Chromecast 5 percent, Apple TV at 4 percent and Boxee and Amazon Fire TV stand at 1 percent.

As digital streaming continues to grow, it still has a long way to go before being viewed as a full replacement for traditional TV. Although these devices are seen as an alternative, the actual impact they have on TV viewing is apparently small, as the research showed digital streaming is viewed equally as an additive or a replacement for TV.