The 'Los Angeles Times' reports that the burger giant is launching its own in-store TV channel over the next few months, with content provided by reality TV impresario Mark Burnett ('Survivor'), BBC America and KABC-TV Eyewitness News.
The concept has already been trialled in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego, and the company aims to have it up and running soon in over 800 branches of McDonald's in Southern and Central California. With an audience estimated at a Big Mac-tastic 18-20 million viewers each month, the new channel could land one of the largest daytime audiences in the area.
McDonald's TV is a joint venture between McDonald's and ChannelPort Communications LLC. If it's successful it could be rolled out in restaurants nationwide, and it will also include interactive elements on Web and mobile platforms.
Leland Edmondson, founder of ChannelPort, said "The intention is to catch and engage the customer, and then enhance their experience. The McDonald's customer is everyone, and we want not to be passive viewers but to be active and participatory with this network."
The programming will be shown in a one-hour cycle consisting of installments or "pods" lasting around 20 minutes. McDonald's charitable causes and schemes such as "The McDonald's Achievers" will be featured as well as local news and programming. For each hour of programming there will be around eight minutes of advertising, including one and a half minutes of McDonald's ads.
Burnett will generate content covering fashion, art, music, night life, lifestyle and culture via his digital production company, Vimby, which uses a network of more than 150 filmmakers in 40 cities. "We believe there are so many screens in America that people are able to watch on and aggregate," Burnett said. "And it's more than sitting at home watching TV. Our company can do digital content on a national scale but with a local focus."
The introduction of TVs marks a change of direction for McDonald's, which is seeking to promote its restaurants as places to linger and spend time with family and friends. To this end, participating restaurants will have "quiet zones" where you can continue to dine without TV.
Those customers who do want to watch TV while they eat will have two high-def 42- to 46" screens, which will be visible from 70 percent of the dining areas. Audio will be heard from the screen or ceiling speakers.