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TouchTunes Acquires In-Bar Media Firm, Bolstering New Media Network With Ad And Entertainment Content

Posted On: 8/18/2008

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-- TouchTunes Corp. has acquired Barfly Interactive Networks (Austin, TX), an in-bar advertising and media company that can bring new content from some influential brands to the TouchTunes jukebox network. Terms of the deal, announced last week, were not disclosed.


According to officials, Barfly's in-bar media platform is built as a fully legal way to create a brand conversation at the point of sale with bar patrons, especially those ages 21 to 34, a demographic that has become increasingly media sensitive and tech savvy. Its content is reportedly a balanced mix of interactive entertainment and marketing messages from its partners.


Barfly operates in some 150 bars and taverns, where it adds sponsored messages to the TV screens on the walls, in select metropolitan markets like Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia. It has about 30 employees and will be run by its current management, as an autonomous unit of TouchTunes, retaining the Barfly name.


TouchTunes said it acquired Barfly to complete its vision of an integrated network that goes beyond jukeboxes, creating a go-to entertainment and advertising center that provides music, games, advertising, interactivity and social networking.


"A targeted in-bar presence is not merely an addition to other media, it is an enhancement of our successful music and gaming network," said Ron Greenberg, TouchTunes's chief marketing officer and senior vice-president of digital media. "When we add Barfly to the mix, we create one of the largest, most robust new media networks around. The opportunities to target audiences and provide a new fresh mix of content are unlimited."


With its jukebox network reaching more than 35,000 bars, restaurants and retail locations throughout North America, TouchTunes is considered a leader in the out-of-home digital media market. And because patrons play on average 1.5 million songs a day, Greenberg said the jukebox network at full capacity can potentially deliver six billion impressions a year for advertisers.


Barfly chief executive and president Bob Weinschenk explained that "TouchTunes and Barfly are mutually interested in helping brands to interact with consumers inside of bars in unique and fun ways that deliver real business results. Joining TouchTunes will help us leverage our combined creativity and capabilities to quickly expand with target audiences and in key growth markets."


Before the official announcement of TouchTunes's Barfly acquisition, both Greenberg and Weinschenk were interviewed by The New York Times for a story describing how marketers are trying to reach consumers outside the home -- and outside traditional media like television.


Greenberg told the Times that place-based media is "all about balance" when trying to avoid alienating consumers with too many ads outside the home. "You have to be careful," he told the paper. Consumers will "give you permission to present your ad, as long as you're not disturbing what they're there to do."


See the August 14 New York Times story here.