EXCLUSIVE: The partnership represents a slight change of course for movie theaters that have been trying so hard to persuade people to put their phones away. Venues that receive their pre-movie commercials from Screenvision soon will encourage patrons to take out their phones and use the Shazam app to help them take advantage of advertiser offers. The companies plan to formally announce the partnership today at Screenvision’s first-ever upfront presentation, although a campaign involving the HTC 1 smartphone began April 12. Screenvision will run 15-second reminders urging moviegoers to take out their phones while the ads run; the Shazam app automatically identifies the ad that’s playing. At that point, companies could transmit to smartphones opportunities to enter contests, buy something, receive additional information or samples, or watch the ad again. The No. 2 movie ad sales company says the arrangement gives it a leg up on industry leader National CineMedia. “With our national cinema network reaching nearly 40M movie goers monthly and Shazam’s 90M and growing U.S. user base, advertisers have the ultimate platform to reach the mass market and to get them to act on their message,” says Screenvision SVP Strategic Alliances John McCauley. Shazam’s EVP Marketing David Jones adds that the interactivity will “create a compelling in-theater experience that millions of movie fans around the country can also take home with them and share with their friends.” In addition to the Shazam announcement, Screenvision will unveil a plan to offer audience demo guarantees for its ads — something that buyers already have when they buy TV spots. Data for the guarantees will come from Nielsen’s Cinema Audience Reports. Screenvision serves more than 2,300 theaters with over 14,300 screens.

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