TouchTunes Adds Barfly to Digital Network

In an effort to strengthen its position as a leader in the out-of-home interactive entertainment network category, TouchTunes said today it has acquired Barfly Interactive Networks, which operates a digital media network in bars in major metropolitan areas.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

TouchTunes, New York, has more than 35,000 touch-screen jukeboxes in the U.S. and Canada, located in bars, retail outlets and elsewhere, offering music, advertising and other content. Based in Austin, Texas, Barfly delivers interactive and customized content in 150 locations for brands in the beer and spirits categories, including Anheuser-Busch, Skyy and Diageo.

In conjunction with the Barfly deal, TouchTunes said today it has signed an extended contract with Anheuser-Busch to advertise on the Barfly system. The St. Louis brewer has used Barfly since early summer to promote Michelob, Bud Light Lime and other Bud family brands via still and active ads that appear on the bottom portion of a screen as commercial TV programming airs.

“In a bar, 20-to-50% of alcohol consumed is influenced by factors other than the brand preference they had when they walked in,” said Bob Weinschenk, CEO at Barfly. “They’re more willing to experiment in a bar. So if I can change that preference, it could affect you when you go off-premise and see that product in the store.”

In terms of scale, the alliance is dwarfed by digital signage networks like Premier Retail Network, which delivers content into more than 6,800 in-store televisions at Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Circuit City; and AdtekMedia’s Pump Top TV, which has a stable of screens at 75,000 gas stations. The in-bar network category leader, NTN Buzztime, Carlsbad, Calif., has about 4,000 digital signs in bars and restaurants.

TouchTunes jukeboxes display ads and digital games with the music selections for which patrons pay. Users spend about six minutes on average interacting with the unit, per the company.

“We want to scale the network but first we’re going to see what [geographic] markets the advertisers are interested in and then we’ll move as quickly as we can,” said Ron Greenberg, CMO at TouchTunes.

Skyy and Diageo have used Barfly screens to promote Jose Cuervo, Crown Royal, Captain Morgan and Red Stripe. The network has the capability to post messages about drink specials and events at the bar, and video and trivia games that patrons participate in via cell phone text messaging. It also can provide content by uploading photos of themselves and friends.