Touchtunes Acquires Barfly

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Our first mention of Touchtunes (and there interesting network of interactive jukeboxes in the US) would probably have been at the brand activation summit in New York in a couple of weeks time as Ron Greenberg, Chief Marketing Officer & SVP of Digital Media at TouchTunes is on the podium.

The best laid plans of mice and men though as we see later today that Touchtunes will have completed the acquisition of screen network operator Barfly.

Digital Entertainment and Advertising Innovators Come Together to Create Interactive In-Bar Media Network

TouchTunes Enhances Strategic Growth; Acquires Barfly Interactive Networks

NEW YORK – August 15, 2008 – Today marks the launch of a new media network designed to reach audiences with engaging advertising and entertainment content. Through its acquisition of Barfly Interactive Networks, a rapidly growing in-bar advertising and media company, TouchTunes Corporation, the largest out-of-home interactive entertainment network, will augment its expansive system of digital jukeboxes with prominent screens in bars across the United States. Barfly will bring new content from some of the most influential brands in the world, adding to TouchTunes’ robust digital music, advertising and games offering.

As a leader in the out-of-home (OOH) digital media market, the TouchTunes digital jukebox network is in more than 35,000 bars, restaurants and retail locations throughout North America. TouchTunes acquired Barfly to complete its vision to provide an integrated network that goes beyond jukeboxes, creating a go-to entertainment and advertising center that provides music, games, advertising, interactivity and social networking.

“A targeted in-bar presence is not merely an addition to other media, it is an enhancement of our successful music and gaming network,” said Ron Greenberg, TouchTunes CMO and senior vice president of digital media. “When we add Barfly to the mix, we create one of the largest, most robust new media networks around. The opportunities to target audiences and provide a new fresh mix of content are unlimited.”

The Barfly in-bar media platform, which has successfully operated in approximately 150 bars in select metropolitan markets for the past year, was built as a fully legal way to create a brand conversation at the point of sale with bar patrons between the ages of 21-34, a demographic that has become increasingly media sensitive and tech savvy. Its content is a balanced mix of interactive entertainment and marketing messages from its partners.

“Joining TouchTunes will help us leverage our combined creativity and capabilities to quickly expand with target audiences and in key growth markets,” said Bob Weinschenk, CEO and president of Barfly. “The acquisition brings great value to both companies. TouchTunes and Barfly are mutually interested in helping brands to interact with consumers inside of bars in unique and fun ways that deliver real business results.”

Barfly has signed exclusive advertising and content development deals with leaders in the beer, wine and spirits industry, including Anheuser-Bush, Diageo and Skyy. The company works closely with advertisers to develop relevant messages and content that promotes key consumer brands in a highly contextual and targeted manner, unlike traditional signage and in-bar promotional materials. The content is shown via wrap-around graphics on televisions in bars. Barfly augments its ad line-up with information about the host bars’ events and specials, trivia contests and other interactive entertainment.

TouchTunes’ new alignment will further advertising partners’ opportunity to rapidly increase their reach and connect with key audiences in new and entertaining ways. Now, marketers with the world’s leading brands will be able to reach consumers effectively at the point of purchase and within the right environment. Additionally, Barfly also will allow TouchTunes to work more closely with its operator and distributor partners – in a new and innovative way – and will bring TouchTunes fresh opportunities for growth.

Barfly Networks currently has about 30 employees and is headquartered in Austin, Texas. The company will continue to be run by its current management team and will retain the Barfly name. The complete terms of the deal, effective immediately, were not released.

2 Responses to “Touchtunes Acquires Barfly”

  1. Steve Says:

    This is a fantastic fit for TouchTunes. For those of us that have been around the streaming media space TouchTunes revolutionized the jukebox industry with their digital music delivery system. With their huge installed footprint Barfly should catapult TouchTunes in the OOH arena.

  2. James Says:

    I would not count on this being so easy for TT. They do not have direct relationships with all venues and the BF Interactive proposition and business model has not been well received by this distribution channel.

    Time will tell if TT has the real expertise to move from a pay for play music company into a real media company. When you look at management at TT closely the lack of media sales and marketing expertise is very obvious.

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