Planet Hollywood, via a deal with Retail Media Systems of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is installing a TV network in its restaurants, and it will be up and running in 37 North American locations by the end of July. By next year, the network will be in Planet Hollywoods worldwide.
Currently, Planet Hollywood outlets have monitors hooked up to VCRs that play tapes. Retail Media Systems is replacing those VCRs with computer servers.
The new system will feature instant, automated delivery of customized programming to a computerized network. It also allows for satellite feeds and interactive and multichannel capacities.
Retail Media Systems will work with the chain to create original programming, but Jason Kates, president-CEO, said it's too soon to say what kind of programming is on tap.
It could be original entertainment, such as celebrity-hosted "edutainment" or cartoons or audience-response entertainment. Programming can be customized for the entire chain, or a region or one location in particular.
Initially, the network won't be ad supported. Planet Hollywood controls that, and may eventually end up selling ad and promotional opportunities to corporate partners.
The Planet Hollywood deal is an exception to Retail Media Systems' business model.
"It's a hybrid of what we want to go after," said Mr. Kates. "We want to operate the network, own the programming and sell advertising."
He said a deal is pending with an auto parts chain to install a network in 1,000 locations. And he has his fingers crossed that a forthcoming test with Blockbuster Video will lead to a larger relationship.
Retail Media Systems works with Turner Broadcasting System, E! Entertainment Television and Nascar, and others to produce content.