New York’s digital media content management platform Red Touch Media believes personalisation is the future of advertsing, as it prepares to bring its facial recognition technology to Australia.
Red Touch Media has already been launched in Asia-Pacific but has recently decided to establish a head office in Australia, with the country deemed as having the right mix of people, entrepreneurs, and company culture. It expects to hire around 30 people by 2014.
Red Touch Media creates white label websites, apps and kiosks that provide digital entertainment content to consumers, and analytics to retailers and content providers.
With these products making it the middleman between retailers and content providers, it can deliver data on how the hosted media is being consumed – how many times a movie is being watched, where it was paused, and so on – and with customer data to the retailers, along with providing customised ads that only appear when consumers are open to the product. Having license deals with content owners and partnerships with retailers, Red Touch has made its market in being the bridge between the two.
But probably the company’s most interesting offering is the kiosk’s facial recognition technology that recognises and welcomes customers on return, makes suggestions depending on previous consumption, and delivers personalised advertising, such as a SpecSavers ad if they’re wearing glasses.
During a visit down under to help establish the company’s Asia-Pacific head office, the company’s CEO Wayne Scholes told B&T he believes personalisation is a coming trend of advertising, while profiling is a flawed technique.
“I think profiling is dangerous because it discounts the nuances of people. We use it as one element of Red Touch Connect simply to help us get more detail for personalisation. I just don’t think [profiling] is effective.”
Instead, the company employs “complex filters” through its product Connect. It uses its database and analytics-driven technology to match content and advertisements to consumer interests. Content owners can then test market demand for new content in advance of releases while retailers can improve loyalty through a shared content experience with consumers.
“Advertisers have lost ability to make connections with customers – it’s like fishing with dynamite," says Scholes.
"Red Connect allows advertisers to connect to people and establish a relationship with consumers.”
It does this through the white label kiosks and websites. The company’s kiosks provide entertainment such as movies and music to be taken away on a USB, or downloaded directly to your tablet or smartphone, so the need for creating and labelling CDs and packaging is removed, along with the customer’s need to return the media.
The technology isn’t exclusive to Apple so a customer had take the media from one device to another once they’ve made the purchase. “People like to choose content where, when and how they like – they don’t like being told which format. We try give the option to the consumer,” says Scholes.
The content is time-locked but can also be resurrected. “Say for example, someone watches a movie three times in a month; we can say to them in six months’ time, ‘You really liked this movie – would you like to watch it again for a discount price?’” he explains.
The company is currently in negotiations with three major clients who will hold Red Touch Media kiosks that hold the facial recognition technology.
Most major studios in the US such as Paramount Pictures and EMI are currently using the system, with the company seeing 2 billion downloads a month. Scholes says the download time is only 1.5minutes. (Perhaps a good time for those personalised ads?)
“Our whole philosophy has always been about responding to consumer behaviour rather than forcing them into a direction.”
“I was director of strategic marketing for Virgin so I understand the need for that connection. That’s why I’m so excited about Red. As a trend it will be more about customising the right content for the right people. [The future of advertising] won’t be about billboard advertising. That’s more of a backup plan. It’s really about establishing a personal connection through content. Connection through content.”