Spotlight: Cinime

Yummi Media has just signed a deal with Shaw Theatres to bring Phonix, its second-screen platform, to cinemas in Singapore.

The Phonix technology can recognise a number of factors – time, location, image and two types of sound recognition – Shazam-style audio fingerprinting as well as watermarking – to work out what content to serve and when.

In the UK, DCM has been trialling the technology, in the form of the Cinime app. The core idea is that before the film begins, cinemagoers can interact with the ads and trailers on the big screen on their phone. 

There are plenty of interesting applications among the 14 campaigns that have run through Cinime so far, but to pick one that illustrates clearly how it works, lets look at Ben & Jerrys branded movie quizzes. Questions appear on-screen, along with a prompt to open the DCM app.

The accompanying audio triggers a matching interactive quiz on the phone, and if the user gets all the answers right, they receive a voucher for a free scoop of Ben & Jerrys ice cream. This is delivered right into the app, via a barcode that can be redeemed at the concessions stand.

At the movies

Phonix could also be used for live events or TV but for now, the focus is firmly on cinemas.

“Its the most powerful medium weve found so far,” says Yummi Media chief commercial officer Alistair Simpson. “Cinema only makes up one per cent of our media consumption, but its so stable. The experience hasnt changed much in 60 or 70 years – unlike TV, which is evolving fast.”

Beyond tying into trailers, Cinime is intended to support the whole cinema-going experience. Users can scan posters in the lobby to access content via Phonixs image recognition technology, while a cinema chain could use the location-based functionality to push out rewards for visiting twice in a month.

One of the most interesting claims that Cinime makes is that it works offline. “Not many cinemas have perfect 3G coverage,” says Simpson, “and they dont want to install wi-fi because its encouraging people to use their phones during the film.”

Thats true, and given the variety of content Cinime is capable of serving up, it sounds too good to be true. Naturally, in reality its a bit more complicated than it sounds. While campaigns are pre-downloaded to the phone with each update, waiting for the right trigger, this doesnt include all content.

For example, Red Bull ran a campaign alongside one of its stunning extreme sports trailers, which enabled users to access a headcam view of the footage on their phone. Without any internet connection, all thats triggered is the relevant URL – the user wont actually be able to watch the videos until theyre reconnected.

Day One

Cinime is publicly available for iOS and Android, but its still a trial version, which has only been active in 11 cinemas.

“We wanted to prove that it worked, that people would respond to this content, and that they didnt find it intrusive,” says Simpson. 

In that respect, it appears to have been a successful experiment. In the first six months, Cinime attracted 28,000 downloads, while Yummi says engagement rates for the quiz campaign have been as high as 92 per cent.

“When you create an innovative product, you dont necessarily know how youre going to make money from it,” Simpsons says. “But with Cinime, were not trying to commercialised something people loved and losing half of the audience – its doing what it does from day one.”

In some respects, day one is still just around the corner. The fully-featured app is set to roll out next month, and over the next three to six months, the number of participating cinemas will expand to 3,000 – Yummis partnership with DCM gives it access to 82 per cent of UK screens. Beyond that, its aiming to reach 15 markets by June next year – a ball thats started rolling with todays deal with Shaw Theatres. 

When we talk about second screening, it tends to be the TV. But Cinime, and Phonix, give advertisers the opportunity to try out everything theyre doing to reach peoples living rooms in a whole new space – and itll be interesting to see how its adopted, both by brands and consumers.

“No matter whats happening on screen, viewers recognition of traditional adverts after the film is quite poor,” says Simpson. “People never leave the cinema talking about the Vodafone advert they saw before the film, but with Cinime, we can deliver content thats there on their phone as they walk out the door.”