If you're happy, clap your hands... and watch your news
Thursday, May 23, 2019 5:06 pm
Check Kahwa Coffee online and you'll see live entertainment in its offering. But it's a live video service that has been attracting attention from the newsmedia industry.
The coffee shop in the heart of the Florida boating community of St Petersburg on Tampa Bay delivers demographically-matched news with its coffee from a specially-designed newspaper rack.
About 50 of the racks, which feature 24 inch monitors, have been installed in the Tampa Bay Times' TimesVision project to stream a mix of news and advertising in a seven-minute loop.
Using technology not unlike a Nintendo terminal, the monitors can register the age group, sex and sentiment of the person watching - information it logs whether the viewer is anonymously and as soon forgets, sidestepping privacy concerns. Advertisers have the benefit of knowing who's getting their message and how their ads are performing. The publisher is at pains to emphasise that the monitors don't take pictures or capture video that can be stored in any form.
The Times is expanding its news output with short videoe designed to run on the displays as well as in its web and smartphone products. Executive vice president and chief digital officer Conan Gallaty says TimesVision also promotes the stores which sell newspapers, creating a two-way benefit: "Newsroom-produced segments will focus on useful information - from daily weather reports to showcasing things to do and even quizzes that riff off the news.
"When major breaking news occurs, we have the capability of moving quickly to upload news alerts."
Among other publishers using the technology are BH Media's Richmond Times-Dispatch - now managed under contract by Lee Enterprises - and Oahu Publications' Star-Advertiser, which received awards last year including the 2018 Mega Conference Innovation Award and was a finalist in four INMA awards categories.