Bar Entertainment Network Barvanna Gets Distribution Deal To Be Available Via DIRECTV
October 11, 2022 by Dave Haynes
The Digital OOH start-up Barvanna has done a partnership deal with satellite and streaming provider DIRECTV to makes it services available at the sports, entertainment and hospitality locations where DIRECTV already has receiving technology and play-out boxes in place. The deal potentially – emphasis on potentially – makes Barvanna’s ad-backed soft content programming available in some 300,000 locations across the U.S.
“DIRECTV strives to provide our commercial customers with the best tools to help them thrive, while creating an experience that will keep their patrons engaged,” says Doug Eichler, SVP of DIRECTV Business Solutions. “Barvanna delivers a dynamic and unique network that is satellite-friendly, highly engaging, and different from anything else on the market. We are excited to work with them and are confident that our customers will enjoy all the entertaining content they offer.”
“This is truly a landmark deal for our network, cementing Barvanna as the most widely distributed out-of-home network in the United States,” says Sean Riley, co-founder of Barvanna. “Barvanna is the only linear cable network specially designed for public spaces, with easily digestible short-form content to entertain patrons whether they are dining, working out, waiting for an appointment or getting ready to watch the big game. Our versatile and wide-ranging content offerings don’t compete against cable or networks like ESPN, but instead complement them, enhancing traditional out-of-home experiences with continuous 24/7 entertainment that adapts to what is being shown in the sports bar, restaurant, or anywhere else.”
Barvanna’s offer is primarily trivia gaming that can be switched on from a DIRECTV box as easily as switching to a different ESPN channel. The idea is that trivia offerings on screens in sports bars, restaurants, and elsewhere, keep patrons interested, engaged and sticking around longer, which leads ideally to increased sales.
The company makes, I think, an aggregate block of time available to local operators to market their in-house specials, community programs or other messaging.
Founded a couple of years ago, Barvanna says it is in 4,000 locations in the US and over 8,500 locations, in multiple countries, worldwide. The company started in Trinidad and is active in several Caribbean countries.
The company has a bunch of competitors going at this market from different angles. There are:
- other services like Austin-based Atmosphere, which has dozens of streaming content channels and runs off provided Apple TV boxes;
- platforms like Upshow that are fee-based but designed to drive both customer and employee engagement;
- subscription content feeds like those of Screenfeed;
- and CMS software solutions, notably the prosumer displays and smartphone-driven SMB product introduced by Samsung and aimed squarely at bar and restaurant operators.
If you have been around digital signage and DOOH for a long time, you may be getting that “I’ve already seen this movie” feeling … and it’s valid.
More than 10 years ago, RMG Networks (now Korbyt) was primarily focused on DOOH and it did a deal with DIRECTV. “For about $90 a month,” I wrote at the time, “new DIRECTV customers get a dish, four receivers, 45 channels and the ability and tools to upload templated ads to promote their own businesses or business partners. The ads are the “reverse L” style quasi-online ads that have been tried with varying success in the fast casual restaurant and bar business for many years.”
I admittedly thought this deal could be a bit seismic, as this was well before broadband and streaming technologies were mature, and satellite offered a widely installed and relatively reliable distribution platform. But … it didn’t really go anywhere, or anywhere good enough, to stick with it. I dunno the back-story but there are many, many tales of very large companies bolting something small on to their main offer, and not putting enough energy behind it to make it fully happen in the marketplace.