Published on March 5th, 2013 | by Alastair Gilmour


When blankety-blank is a turn-off

More and more of the region’s pubs are tuning in to a different way of utilising their television screens.

When the big match is on, having a television screen in your pub can be the difference between a steady day and a heaving one

That’s why more and more landlords are now installing several screens in the one room – to give everyone a chance to catch the action from wherever they’re sitting or leaning against the bar.

But what about those moments when the sport isn’t on? Do your screens sit around showing rolling news with the sound on mute, or do they hang from the wall looking blank?

Newcastle-based technology company Screach believes there’s a way to get people staring at your TVs even when our top teams aren’t playing. ScreachTV is a plug-and-play box that gives pub owners the chance to create their own branded and personalised television channel that’s designed for their own customers.

Pubs can use ScreachTV to show their own adverts, display their messages and photos from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, access live television, news feeds and YouTube, and even interact with games, pub quizzes or a jukebox feature using their phones.

“What we’re trying to do is encourage people to pay more attention to the screens when the football isn’t on,” says Screach chief executive Paul Rawlings.

“What ScreachTV does is allow pub owners to create their own channel which features entertaining games, messages and other content that suits their customers. After all, they’re the ones who know who know them best.”

Screach started putting its ScreachTV boxes in pubs around the UK last year, and now has more than 100 dotted around the nation. Basically, pubs pay a set fee to rent the box and a monthly subscription to receive the content. The company has been partnering North East gaming machine firm Bob Rudd Leisure to get the word out to landlords and pub chains, and is on the lookout for more companies to join the list of ScreachTV users.

After hooking up their box to the TV and the internet, landlords can tailor what appears on the screen to make it more attractive to their regulars – and to make it as relevant as possible to where they are.

One Newcastle pub/restaurant taking advantage of the system is Pacific House, near the city’s Haymarket. Harry Vaulkhard, owner of Pacific House, reports that the system is proving very popular. “It means if we aren’t showing matches, customers can still use the screens and get involved with everything from a pub quiz to a range of other interactive games,” he says. He was quick to spot that basically what you put on the channel is the pub or club’s decision.

Paul Rawlings explains: “You’re not stuck with whatever’s on the television schedules. The cool thing is that the punters are putting things on the screens too, such as Twitter messages and Instagram photos.

“This is about putting more entertainment in the venue, not just digital adverts. Advertising is a useful feature for pub owners, but it’s not all of it. You want to publicise your brand and your offers, but also to entertain your audience and not put them off. You wouldn’t watch a TV channel that was all adverts at home, so why would you do it in the pub?”

Pub owners are also finding different ways to use ScreachTV. Some pubs like the pub quizzes and find regulars will hover at the bar trying to answer questions the quickest. Others make use of the opportunity to advertise drinks deals, while some have displays of tweets or pictures related to the pub or the local football team.

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Alastair Gilmour

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