Interactive technology maker Audience Entertainment is going mobile.
The startup company is trying to add elements of gaming to the bigscreen experience, allowing, for instance, a theater full of ticket buyers to play games in unison, participate in a collective choose-your-own-adventure experience, or vote on what trailer they’d like to see before a film. Given the popularity of multiplayer online games such as “World of Warcraft,” it’s easy to see how what the Audience Entertainment is selling could resonate with consumers.
“We’re addressing a modern paradox, because as much as technology connects us, it also isolates us,” said Audience Entertainment chief marketing officer Adam Cassels.
“There’s a growing need for and demand for experiences that connect us and bring us together,” he added, citing examples such as viewing parties for hit shows like “Game of Thrones.”
However, the technology has mostly relied on motion capture in order to get audience members to play along with the onscreen action. That’s changed. As the company prepares for CinemaCon, the annual exhibition confab unfolding next week in Las Vegas, it is announcing that it has created a Wi-Fi based mobile platform. It will require no app download or sign-in for users to play along, the company’s executives told Variety.
“It’s bringing a different format to the cinema experience,” said Cassels. “Adding a mobile element completes the content possibilities.”
Upon entering the theater, audiences are directed to join a closed and secure Wi-Fi network. Because it is Wi-Fi based, the solution is device agnostic – any Wi-Fi enabled smart phone will work. From there, moviegoers are free to engage via mobile with whatever content appears on the screen.
The Audience Entertainment is rolling out its gadgetry at a time when theater owners are looking for ways to attract younger audiences weaned on gaming and are also experimenting with alternative content, such as filmed opera performances, to broaden their customer base.
The technology will make its debut at CinemaCon in partnership with Barco, on Tuesday, April 21, at 10:30 a.m. (and again at 2:30 p.m.) in the Milano Ballroom on the Promenade level at Caesars Palace, and will be integrated with the Barco Escape multi-screen, immersive viewing experience.
Over the last five years, Audience Entertainment has showcased its content in movie theaters, arenas and concert stadiums, and has installed its iD technology into 100 Screenvision theaters across the country.