Waiting in line for the rides is the worst part of any visit to an amusement park — but digital signage is turning that wait time into an entertaining interlude for millions of guests every year.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., which operates 11 amusement parks including Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm, Kings Island and Canada's Wonderland, earlier this year debuted FunTV, an outdoor digital signage system designed to "engage, entertain and enhance the overall guest experience" that will reach more than 23 million guests annually, according to a statement from the company.
Time Warner Cable Media, the advertising arm of Time Warner Cable Inc., serves as the exclusive advertising representative for FunTV, and the ReflectView enterprise digital media software suite from digital signage provider Reflect drives HD media content and applications across 350 screens in the 11 parks from outdoor display provider SunBriteTV.
FunTV is broadcast on SunBriteTV Pro Series 55-inch outdoor displays with full audio in the queue area of more than 120 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.
"FunTV provides a great avenue for advertisers to reach an in-demand audience, delivering more than 1 billion impressions to teens, adults and families with young children in an ideal environment," Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. COO Richard Zimmerman said. "The arrangement with Time Warner Cable Media provides added value for our guests, investors and advertisers. This digital media engagement provides us a platform for a larger in-park marketing program to create a high-impact, fully-integrated strategic alliance program."
The digital experiences start immediately when guests arrive, according to a release from SunbriteTV. Entry gate digital signage is utilized to help direct traffic flows, with a Reflect custom-developed software application on entry gate screens dynamically controlling lane status for guest entry, indicating which lanes are open or closed. The application also provides custom content and messaging capabilities to designate lanes reserved for groups and VIPs, and can also be used to promote special events.
Multiple screens throughout the parks provide guests with entertainment and information. Reflect developed dynamic content, including a custom weather package to inform guests when to expect the hottest or coldest hours of the day, or inclement weather, allowing them to plan their day accordingly.
Reflect deployed the SunBriteTV outdoor digital signage displays in an aggressive deployment timeframe of just eight rainy weeks, SunBriteTV said. The displays feature direct sunlight-readable LED screens with high temperature Enhanced Solar Tolerance technology, offering a consistent image in all lighting conditions. Multifan airflow and temperature regulation systems keep internal electronics running in temperatures from -40° to 122° Fahrenheit, and a watertight Cable Entry System seals out moisture, insects, dust and foreign particles.
"Cedar Fair's attention to customer service and the parks' varied environments demanded a dependable solution," Reflect SVP Rusty Wagner said in the SunbriteTV announcement. "We chose SunBriteTV because the displays were not only an aesthetic fit but because the weatherproofing technology guaranteed high performance in every climate."
/ Christopher is the managing director of the Interactive Customer Experience Association and former editor of DigitalSignageToday.com. A longtime freelance writer and reporter, he's bringing a fresh perspective and critical take on the industry.