Starz Entertainment is testing out AT&T's mobile barcode service, which lets consumers use a smartphone to scan 2D barcodes on print ads, posters or billboards to get more info or subscribe to the premium programmer's services.
Starz will include AT&T mobile barcodes in select print and outdoor advertising during the charter program, starting with promotions for the original series Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which started a six-episode run on Jan. 21.
Starz will experiment with the mobile technology to gauge how well it reaches interested customers with special offers that highlight original programming and exclusive movies. When consumers scan a barcode with a compatible phone -- from AT&T or other carriers -- they will be presented with additional information on the show, video clips and an opportunity to sign up for Starz through their provider.
The Starz test of the mobile barcodes runs from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2011.
"Starz is pleased to be AT&T's first TV/network programming member for this program," Starz vice president of affiliate sales and marketing Jennifer Schouten said in a statement. "AT&T Mobile Barcode technology provides our subscribers and prospects immediate information on programming, services, and special offers and it gives them a convenient way to order Starz via mobile devices."
Starz plans to offer the 2D barcode technology to affiliates as part of joint marketing campaigns, Schouten added.
According to AT&T, approximately 25 million devices are compatible with its barcode-scanning app, including handsets running Apple, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile operating systems.
AT&T started installing the app in all of its own phones in November 2010. The goal is for the barcode-scanner feature to become something consumers expect will be included on a phone by default.
During the test phase, AT&T is working with partners to measure consumer response rates and effectiveness of consumer barcode scanning technology as an interactive marketing vehicle.