McDonald’s Launching In-Store TV Channel


McDonald’s pulled in more than $24 billion in revenue in 2010, but it is always looking to sell more Big Macs. The company is introducing a new in-store television channel in California that will spread nationwide if it succeeds, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Restaurants with the channel will have large-screen televisions that are visible from 70 percent of the seats, airing content that is “customized to specific communities around the individual restaurants, and will include local news and entertainment features, such as spotlights on upcoming films, albums and TV shows,” the Times reports.[more]

“While they’re in line getting their hamburger there is no escape,” said Allen Adamson, a managing partner of brand-building specialists Landor Associates, according to the Times. In the past few years, the paper notes, marketers are taking more advantage of spaces where consumers can’t escape, such as gas pumps, elevators, or the backseat of a cab.

The channel is “being rolled out slowly during the next few months and will soon be up in 800 McDonald’s restaurants in Southern and Central California,” according to the Times. It will feature content from Vimby — a digital video production house that last year partnered with Mark Burnett, the producer of Survivor and The Apprentice — as well as from BBC America and KABC-TV Eyewitness News.

Its programming wheel will be broken up into different segments to fill an hour and then be repeated. Of every hour, eight minutes will be advertising; McDonald’s will only claim a minute and a half of that time, the Times reports, with the rest of the available time offering a branding opportunity to local, regional and national advertisers who wish to reach McDonald’s audience.

That could be a supersized revenue stream since it is “expected to reach 18 million to 20 million people a month” regionally, the Times notes, which amounts to a huge daytime audience. The effort “will also include interactive elements on Web and mobile platform,” and, if successful, “may expand nationwide.”

If the McTV concept proves to be a winner, it could also help to draw people back into McDonald’s, which currently does 70 percent of its business at the drive-through, the Times reports. Of course, it also runs the risk of turning off in-store diners.