Forget asking if you’d like fries with that burger. McDonald’s is betting you’d like a little entertainment to go along with your meal. The Hollywood Reporter says that the fast-food giant is bringing its own brand of broadcasting straight to you, the consumer, with the launch of McTV. The new TV network will hit McDonald’s restaurants with “local news, sports, movie and TV show previews, entertainment features and human interest stories.” I’m guessing “Super Size Me” director Morgan Spurlock won’t be among the featured guests.
Are you questioning whether or not this new form of media bombardment has staying power? Well, rest assured money can still buy you the best; reality mega-producer Mark Burnett’s digital production company Vimby is on board. It will employ TV and filmmakers from over 40 cities to produce programming geared to individual communities. In fact, according to entertainment, tech and brand management firm ChannelPort Communications, McTV will reach a whopping 18 to 20 million viewers every month. Eight minutes of every hour will be devoted to advertisements–90 seconds of which will be set aside for the fast-food chain itself.
The company’s U.S. spokeswoman told the L.A. Times, “People today are using are restaurants differently than they have in the past. They’ve become more of a destination. With McDonald’s restaurants offering Wi-Fi, we’ve become more relevant and contemporary.”
They’re also no dummies; research shows watching TV increases intake of high-density foods, according to a 2006 study by the Center on Media and Child Health. Oh, and then there’s a 2009 study that New York Times says “finds that seeing food ads on television can induce people to eat more snacks while watching.” The Stanford University School of Medicine conducted a 2004 study that reached the following conclusion: “Elementary school children eat nearly 20 percent of their daily calories while watching television.” And people, you know we’re not snackin’ on carrot sticks!
Look, we’re all big girls and boys–with potential to become much, much bigger–so we can decide for ourselves what to put into our bodies. I think McDonald’s is just hoping we’ll linger with their TV and Wi-Fi and justify an extra 500 calories or so. You know, the way people order extra drinks while gambling at a casino. Yep, my odds are on McTV to be a sure thing.
What are your thoughts about McTV? Do you foresee this trend spilling over to other fast-food chains?