Is AudienceGames a Social Media?

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by: David Polinchock

We were having a conversation at the office today about whether or not we could call AudienceGames (you can click here if you’re not sure what I’m talking about) a social media. I know it probably doesn’t fit the current definition of social media, but I had some good reasons for thinking it should be included in the social media discussion.

For one thing, it is a media, right? It usually falls under the advergaming category, sometimes the OOH grouping, but it’s always media. Right there up on the big screen.

And it’s certainly social. Hell, the game doesn’t really play if there’s only one person in the theater. Well, technically it does, but it sure isn’t fun. If you’ve played AudienceGames or seen some of the video, you know what I mean. A group of people, in a social setting (the movie theater) playing a game. And let me tell you, when the audience is really into playing the game, you can feel the social energy in the room. In fact, I played AudienceGames at a conference in Amsterdam and someone come up to me that night at dinner to tell me how much the room changed, with a new energy and socialness in the room after we played the game.

Look at how AgencySpy talked about it:

It incorporates so many of the trends we babble on about here at AS. Let’s see, there’s gaming. Check. There’s community. Check. There’s new technology. Check.

So, if I’m right, when we complete the initial AudienceGames installation of 750 screens later this summer, we will have one damn big, social media network. And here’s the cool thing. That network will be in front of the 33 million people who buy tickets in those theaters.

And this is where it got interesting to me. Most social networks tell you how many people sign up, but not how many people drop out or just stop using it. There’s no figure for “churn.” I haven’t really been to my Facebook or myspace page since I set it up, but I’m still a registered user. But I’m far from an engaged user. So, do I really have value to advertisers? I’d say no.

But, when people come into the movie theater and experience AudienceGames, they’re an engaged audience. Actively engaged. In fact, during the two month test, over 90% of the people we surveyed played the game and we had a 71% unaided recall rate. That’s engagement, not just membership. And as we expand, our active, engaged user base goes up a lot! I mean, if we end up on just 5,000 (out of NCM’s 17,000+ total) screens, that would give us an estimated audience of over 200 million. Active users.

Now, I’m not suggesting that AudienceGames can have as deep of an experience as a Facebook, myspace or whatever’s next might deliver, but it’ll sure deliver happy, social, engaged people.

So, could this be the start of an entirely new, social media experience? And what else could happen in this social media space that would deliver for the audience? Lastly, how could we connect the location based social media experience with the online social media experience? That’s where I’m really excited to play!

So, I’m sending this to my social network and asking for your input. Is this a new form of social media? What else can we bring to the experience? How do we bring the online & offline elements together into a seamless social experience?

Looking forward to your thoughts!

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