Hallmark Channel uses on-air QR codes to increase engagement

The Hallmark Channel delivered its viewers an interactive multimedia experience via QR codes during the Billy Ray Cyrus Christmas movie that aired this weekend.

The on-air QR codes let fans download early music releases and video. Until recently, television viewers were in a position to only consume content from networks and advertisers.

?QR codes in general allow for seamless access to web-based content or media without having to type ? often a burden on touch screen devices,? said Tim Hayden, chief marketing officer at 44Doors, Austin, TX. ?While watching television, viewers may see an advertisement or, as in this case, in-program content that they want to access in the moment or view later.

?Enabling viewers to access content at the very minute they want or need it may help drive program viewership volume, loyalty or instantaneous purchase activity,? he said.

Billy Ray Cyrus gave his fans an exclusive gift this holiday season through the Hallmark Channel and 44Doors. 

Mr. Cyrus starred in Hallmark Channel Original Movie ?Christmas Comes Home to Canaan,? which premiered Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, with the world premiere of the music video following immediately afterward. 

The QR code, powered by 44Doors, appeared on Hallmark Channel, Friday, Dec. 16 (between 9:30-10 p.m. ET/PT) and again on-air Saturday, Dec. 17 (approximately 10:00 p.m. ET/PT). 

The code was preceded by three alerts telling viewers to get their smartphones ready. When the code appeared on the screen, they can use an available reader to stream the video on their mobile devices or instructions to download to their desktop.

To scan the Billy Ray Cyrus QR code, consumers could use any preferred QR code reader or text SCAN to 44040 to download the free Scanlife app available for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry devices.

Per Mr. Hayden, thousands of folks across the country scanned the QR code during the ninety seconds (twice at 45 seconds each time) that it was broadcasted live. 

Additionally, the program is seeing many more scans each hour, most likely from people learning about it through social media and/or viewing the movie later via digital video recorder.

?Millions of Americans watch television with their mobile phone by their side,? Mr. Hayden said. ?Saturday night offered this audience a tangible entertainment experience that didn't require them to go to a computer or login to an entertainment portal such as iTunes to download the video.

?An increased volume of viewers and sustaining that audience throughout Christmas Comes Home to Canaan was a primary objective, while the data analysis from the actual scans and downloads will help the network and advertisers to better understand audience viewing behavior, device preference and geographic location,? he said.

?All of these insights can be applied to future marketing and media initiatives to greater success.?