AMC MonsterFest: Scarily Interactive

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AMC will launch its first-ever interactive TV event — a two-screen gaming sweepstakes built around its "MonsterFest 24/7" Halloween programming stunt.

While watching MonsterFest programming on their TV from Oct. 25 to 31, users can access AMC's Web site (www.amctv.com) to play interactive games. They'll be eligible to win such prizes as a 42-inch plasma-screen TV.
Although synched-to-broadcast interactivity has shown up occasionally on the cable landscape, "no one had really done it with movies," said AMC Digital Ventures senior vice president Tom Barreca. "We wanted to transcend the trivia experience and improve upon it."

Starting Oct. 25, TV viewers can log on during the nightly MonsterFest movie at 8 p.m. EDT/EST and play online games with other AMC viewers.

Viewers can enter the plasma TV sweepstakes by answering real-time trivia questions during the 8 p.m. movie. Predator 2
airs Oct. 25.

Fright meters

In addition to the gaming features, AMC's Web site will feature "fright meters," on which viewers can rate the scariness of particular scenes. Gamers also will be able to chat and create their own private gaming rooms.

Live results from the interactive game — including a list of "who's playing now," sweepstakes winners, fright-meter and poll results — will be televised during each movie.

Amctv.com plans to offer MonsterFest screen savers, Flash and Shockwave games, movie trailers, and special weekly previews of AMC's "Short Screamers" — a collection of horror movie shorts created for the network by amateur filmmakers. Viewers are asked to vote for their favorite.

GoldPocket Interactive and Extend Media are AMC's technology partners in the promotion.

Extend Media developed what technically is a separate Web site for the promotion, while GoldPocket — known for its work with Home Box Office, TBS Superstation and Game Show Network — will handle the ITV play-along technology and real-time Internet connectivity components. GoldPocket's EventMatrix technology enables at-home viewers to play along with the television program in real time and compete against each other on Internet-connected PCs.

More than 1,000 viewers have already registered to play MonsterFest interactive games, Barreca said.

Last year during MonsterFest, a two-screen "You Don't Know Jack" promotion during intervals between movies generated more than 8,000 responses, Barreca said.

Chevy Trucks, MonsterFest's on-air sponsor, will be prominently displayed online and during the interactive portion of the promotion through ads and product placements, Barreca said.

GoldPocket officials said its technology allows advertisers to engage viewers throughout the two-screen experience, even during commercials.

Affiliate content

AMC has also created special promotional content for many of its cable affiliates, designed to display the benefits of the cable modem for two-screen applications. The promotions — bearing the tagline "Play faster, play better with high speed" — went to Comcast Corp., Adelphia Communications Corp., Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems Corp., among other affiliates, Barreca said.

Barreca said more interactivity is in the works at AMC and sister Rainbow Media Corp. network WE: Women's Entertainment.

"We really love this technology," he said. "It gives us graphic latitude and a lot to work with going forward."

AMC hopes to draw more viewers — and, more importantly, the casual viewer — to MonsterFest.

"The die-hard fans we'll get anyway," Barreca said. "The question is, 'How do we get the casual horror fan?' "

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