Cinema ad seller Screenvision taps Redbox to boost advertising capabilities
With all fronts of the movie business in turmoil due to the ongoing pandemic, Redbox, the DVD rental kiosk business that has recently ventured into the ad-supported streaming space, has teamed up with cinema ad seller Screenvision Media to bolster its advertising capabilities.
Consolidated under Redbox’s advertising sales arm, Redbox Connect, the partnership will allow the Chicago-based DVD peddler to “provide national, regional, and local advertising” to roughly 40 million customers through its entertainment network, which encompasses physical rental kiosks, a mobile app, connected TV and video-on-demand platforms.
“I think there’s a ton of synergy, connecting two powerful ecosystems,” says Jason Kwong, chief strategy and digital officer at Redbox, which started building out its advertising business approximately three years ago. As a result, it is able to bring a wealth of first-party data to the table, including customers’ movie preferences, shopping habits and more, he says.
“That CTV piece is going to be a big part of our expansion” in the coming years, Kwong adds.
Redbox’s massive U.S. retail footprint—in front of supermarkets, convenience stores and other high-traffic areas—generates hundreds of millions of monthly impressions, and the Screenvision partnership aims to utilize the company’s full suite of marketing touchpoints to gets brands’ messages across digital out-of-home, mobile, web and CTV.
“We actually approached Redbox about a year ago,” says Screenvision CEO John Partilla, who adds that the partnership marks the movie ad seller’s first material foray into CTV. “We thought it provided a tremendous opportunity for us … If you want to reach the moviegoing audience, you’re no longer constrained by the pandemic.”
A large chunk of Screenvision’s target demographic is comprised of young cord-cutters (and increasingly, cord-nevers), meaning the new partnership will allow its ad sales team to connect marketers with “highly coveted, hard-to-reach” audiences who’ve been deprived of theaters lately, Partilla says.
It’s no secret that cinemas have shuttered in many of the country’s top media markets, but that aspect of the pandemic may actually be a small silver lining for Screenvision—acting as a catalyst to accelerate plans to expand beyond traditional pre-show advertising.
With in-theater ad revenues slashed to almost zero in early 2020, the company and its peers have inked a number of deals as of late to bring their silver screen marketing capabilities to esports leagues, Coinstar kiosks, electric vehicle charging stations, elevator TVs and more.
“Regardless of the pandemic, we had always been interested in further diversification of our advertising portfolio,” Partilla says, noting that Screenvision has been “creatively pivoting” its business model to accommodate theater closures—although movies remain the “central tenet” of its corporate structure.
Like Screenvision, Redbox has had to be nimble recently as hard-copy discs, the foundation of its original business, slowly find themselves on the way out. (American DVD sales have plummeted nearly 90% since 2008, with Blu-Ray not faring much better, while streaming service revenues exploded more than tenfold in the same period, CNBC reports.)
In 2017, the company first threw its hat into the streaming wars with Redbox On Demand, a proprietary service that allows users to rent films à la carte for as little as $1.99 each without a subscription. That was followed by last year’s debut of Redbox Free Live TV, a quasi-linear AVOD platform built on non-exclusive TV and movie content from studio partners including Lionsgate and Fremantle.
But despite Redbox’s increasing digital presence, which the company says is meant to complement its 41,000 physical rental kiosks rather than replace them, some observers have wondered how the company remains in business.