Beacons just got a ticket into 300 movie theaters across the United States.

A deal between cinema advertising agency Screenvision and location-based mobile advertising network Mobiquity Networks Inc. will install beacon technology in 300 theater complexes in major markets over the next three months. Beacons are small pieces of hardware that can be placed anywhere. They use Bluetooth technology to send messages to consumers’ smartphones when they pass by or are in their general vicinity.

To receive these messages, consumers have to download an app with Mobiquity Networks’ software development kit in it and opt in to push notifications. These apps are mostly shopping-related, as Mobiquity Networks has also deployed beacons at 475 U.S. malls, and apps that are movie-related, including Shopular, SnipSnap App LLC, Inc., Moviefone and Dealflicks Inc.

Mobiquity Networks installed the beacons in the theater at no cost, says Jim Meckley, chief marketing officer at Mobiquity Networks.

Screenvision, which is responsible for serving up ads on movie screens before a film starts, is looking to expand the reach of its ads for its clients, says John McCauley, chief strategic development officer of Screenvision. The beacons will be placed at the theater building’s entrance, in the concession area and at each door of each theater, so Mobiquity Networks can track the movies consumers are viewing.


From there, the beacons will allow Screenvision to send follow-up advertisements to moviegoers and ad messages that are targeted to specific consumers. For example, Screenvision will know when a consumer is watching the action adventure movie “Deadpool” in Chicago and can follow up with an advertisement for the latest Audi AG model. Movie theaters can also use this information to send moviegoers advertisements for similar movies to ones they’ve seen or send a coupon for the concession stand, Meckley says.

If one of the advertisers already has its own app and wants to use the beacons to target consumers with it, Mobiquity Networks will work with them to get the SDK in the app, Meckley says.

McCauley declined to name any clients signed up to use the beacon network to advertise, although Screenvision claims there are several that will be announced soon. The cost to use the beacons to advertise will depend on each client, and will either be per campaign or cost per thousand impressions, McCauley says.

A variety of retailers, venues and even schools are trying out beacon technology. Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers and host of Super Bowl 50, for example, installed 2,000 beacons to message fans about when a pregame show would begin and which bathroom is closest to them, as well as other relevant messages.