It’s supposedly happened, been announced so many times now we never know what to believe but here we see yet another announcement that McDonald’s USA is launching a TV channel that will run inside its outlets and that will feature a portion of original programming.
We are told that the programming will be targeted by region, and will include local news and sports, and reviews of upcoming films, albums and TV shows that are relevant to the population in question. Advertising will make up about eight minutes per hour, with McDonald’s itself taking a minute and a half.
McDonald’s is looking for increased viewer engagement to supercharge its advertising proposition. The plan is to combine interactive elements on Internet and mobile platforms with the channel.
“The intention is to catch and engage the customer, and then enhance their experience,” Leland Edmondson, founder of McDonald’s content partner ChannelPort, told the LA Times. “The McDonald’s customer is everyone, and we want not to be passive viewers but to be active and participatory with this network.”
It also serves another purpose: keeping people in the restaurant longer. Like its free Wi-Fi gambit, in-store TV will create a friendly environment to linger, and, presumably, snack and drink more.
The McDonald’s Channel will first be rolled out in 800 McDonald’s restaurants in Southern and Central California, reaching 18 million to 20 million people per month. That will make it one of the largest daytime demographics in existence. About 70% of the dining room will be able to view two high-definition 42- to 46-inch screens, with ceiling speakers broadcasting the audio. There will also be quiet zones for those wanting to consume in peace.
ChannelPort will be pulling together content from diverse sources, including “Survivor” reality show pioneer Mark Burnett, BBC America, local ABC affiliates and Burnett’s Vimby, which has a network of more than 150 filmmakers in 40 cities that will create new programming around fashion, art, music, night life, lifestyle and culture. A one-hour cycle of 20- to 22-minute segments will cover a range of topics and will include profiles of local high school and college athletes and so-called “Mighty Moms,” about moms with careers in sports. The Ronald McDonald House Charities will also be spotlighted.