With the debut of FunTV, Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, has created a way to make the wait time for its most popular attractions fun and entertaining, while providing an avenue for advertisers to reach a captive and engaged audience.
Nominating Company: Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, Kings Island, Ohio
Venue: Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (FunTV), Kings Island, Ohio
Project: Cedar Fair’s FunTV
Category: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation
Designed to engage, entertain and enhance the overall guest experience, FunTV is broadcast on large outdoor HD screens with full audio in the queue area of more than 158 top thrill and family attractions across Cedar Fair’s parks. Taking guests behind the scenes of an amusement park, FunTV offers original programming and other content designed to help them plan their day. Other features include park trivia, news, real-time weather, sports, interactive games and music videos.
This new digital platform spans across all 11 Cedar Fair Entertainment Company parks, including Cedar Point, Knott’s Berry Farm, Kings Island and Canada’s Wonderland, and reaches more than 24 million guests annually.
FunTV is powered by Reflect Systems, measured in partnership with Nielsen, and is a member of the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association (DPAA). Time Warner Cable Media, the advertising arm of Time Warner Cable Inc. serves as the exclusive advertising representative for FunTV.
Guests spend an average of 1 hour and 37 minutes in line for FunTV rides according to a Nielsen study. Many guests also visit several times per season making relevant and refreshing content a critical objective.
The physical size of our parks and many elements competing for a guest’s attention presented a challenge. Each of the 11 parks also has its own unique identity, so content had to be created in an extremely localized way that was relevant to the particular market.
It is a major challenge to include external advertising in a way that provides added value for park guests, investors and advertisers without negatively impacting the park experience. The technical logistics of production alone were daunting. How do we shoot a game show on a roller coaster?
How do we format the show to seamlessly include the sponsor’s brand? How do we record decent audio at 120 mph?
Cedar Fair’s in-house FunTV creative department developed original programming that grabbed guest attention instantly, decreased their perceived wait time, related our brand stories and generated additional revenue for the company from sponsors and advertisers.
FunTV’s internal team produced game shows, documentaries and a science series to entertain guests, strengthen Cedar Fair’s brand and attract advertisers. Sponsor logos, brand names and merchandise were woven into show content to increase brand equity. Episodes were selected to naturally segue into a sponsor’s traditional advertisements. For instance, an INSIDE TRACK episode about a park chef segued into an ad for a culinary degree. A horror movie trailer immediately followed a CASH COASTER episode focused on horror movie trivia.
Many technical and logistical obstacles were conquered through repeated testing and incremental improvement. Lightning-quick execution and follow-through on delivery were essential to gain the trust of sponsors, the sales team and other departments within Cedar Fair.
Guests at Cedar Fair parks are now entertained with a content mix that includes:
• Trivia and games
• Real-time news and weather
• Chart-topping music videos
• Behind-the-scenes footage
• Ride wait times
• Relevant ad messaging
FunTV reaches a captive and engaged audience, and a commitment to high-quality content has made a very positive impact on park guests:
• 87 percent of guests waited in line for at least one ride with a FunTV display
• 79 percent of all guests noticed at least one FunTV display during their visit
• 88 percent of those surveyed by Nielsen said they enjoyed FunTV
• Viewers rated FunTV’s impact on their wait time 4.0 out of a possible 5
FunTV also provided a great avenue for advertisers to reach an in-demand audience, delivering more than one billion impressions to teens, adults and families with young children in an ideal environment.
*Behavioral and attitudinal data is from the Nielsen Cedar Fair Park Visitor Survey.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company was nominated for a DSE 2016 APEX Award in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation category. Partner companies on this project included Reflect Systems, Time Warner Cable and Nielsen.