Jukebox Operators Head To Arizona To See What's New From TouchTunes; Virtuo's Karaoke And Photo Booth Apps Are Previewed

Posted On: 9/21/2011

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TouchTunes_Virtuo Floor Model

PHOENIX -- The Virtuo jukebox took center stage here this week at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, where TouchTunes Interactive Networks held its second annual partners meeting. About 180 jukebox companies sent representatives to see and hear what the nation's largest out-of-home entertainment company is adding to its location-based entertainment services.

Virtuo, a widescreen wall-mounting jukebox, began shipping in May and 1,500 units have so far been connected to the TouchTunes network. The company currently administers 50,000 jukeboxes on its network, and three-quarters are connected on broadband.

PHOTO: TouchTunes Virtuo jukebox on new floor mount takes center stage as company president and CEO Charles Goldstuck offers review of performance and preview of upcoming enhancements at Touchtunes' annual Partners Meeting in Phoenix, AZ

According to TouchTunes president and chief executive Charles Goldstuck, the new jukebox is increasing revenue by 25% on average in a majority of locations. However, 30% of Virtuo locations showed an average 14% decline -- and TouchTunes notes that these locations were likely already experiencing downturns, like so many businesses in the weak economy. However, the company said it's analyzing the sampling that has shown a decline and plans to share its findings with the industry.

In typical locations, Goldstuck reports, revenue generated by Virtuo increases gradually, and continues to advance as location patrons become more familiar with the jukebox, compared to other new designs that often spike then fall into decline. Also, the overall uplift from Gen 3 to Virtuo is 16%, compared with 0% over the first six months when Gen 3, introduced in 2007, succeeded Gen 2.

The TouchTunes chief executive shared other critical data to help operators fine-tune their businesses. A dramatic year-over-year user increase of myTouchTunes, a smartphone app for iPhones and Androids that connects the virtual community with physical jukebox locations, suggests patrons want more control of their jukebox experience. At the end of the third quarter of this year, there will be more than 60,000 active myTouchTunes users compared with 12,000 a year ago. In a recent reported week in September, $140,000 was generated through the app, which TouchTunes believes to be incremental income, according to its data analysis and operator feedback.

The mobile app can be used to locate a myTouchTunes jukebox or search for music in the TouchTunes library, which is stocked with more than three million songs. On location, users can log into a myTouchTunes jukebox and use their phones to view music content stored locally, make selections and inform other members about their play activity. There are 35,000 locations equipped with jukeboxes that can support the mobile app, but only 8,000 of them have been registered by operators. As a result, myTouchTunes has only achieved 23% of its potential.

Virtuo, which is dubbed the world's first "smart" jukebox, features TouchTunes' OpenStage software platform, which is designed to run all kinds of entertainment applications -- not unlike apps on smartphones, but on a much larger scale. As with PCs, Macs and smartphones, development tools are available to third-party suppliers. SEE STORY

This week, the company showed prototypes of its Karaoke and Photo Booth apps, which are expected to launch in March. Both jukebox applications are being developed by TouchTunes, with some help from Frog Design, the famous San Francisco studio that helped create Virtuo's form factor and interface. TouchTunes also showed a new module that allows operators to install Virtuo in freestanding configuration rather than mounting to a wall.