Captive Media is a British company, founded in 2007. They design and manage an interactive digital signage entertainment and media system for installation above men’s urinals. The units allow users to play a video game by directing their stream left or right.
The patented system operates through the detection of urine temperature, with sensors integral to the screen unit which is positioned above the bowl, in front of the user. The unit contains a 12-inch LED display, and an Intel Atom Dual-Core processor with a Windows operating system. The hardware is enclosed in a waterproof and vandal-proof, IP65 rated case. The screen is ‘retrofittable’, requiring only power input and internet connection. Projected light points or stickers placed in the bowl indicate to users where to direct their stream in order to play. While the idea predominantly appeals to male competitive instincts, the system can also be installed in female washrooms. These in general are positioned beside the mirrors and hand-dryers, aiming to alleviate boredom experienced whilst queuing by displaying video and visual content.
In 2013, Captive Media developed a universal unit that would fit above any urinal or trough to help installations outside of the UK.
The units are currently installed in around 100 locations across the world. In the UK, they can be found in venues such as Yo! Sushi in Soho, Walkabout, and Butlins. Captive Media had its first US installation in early in March 2012 at a baseball stadium, generating a large media response.
The system currently carries a number of games, including:On The Piste – a skiing game where players must steer to knock over penguins to score points. (See picture).
Clever Dick – a pub quiz game, in which players must answer True or False questions.
ArtSplash – players must colour in a picture on the screen, directing their stream left or right in order to change the colour.
100ml Dash – an Olympic sprint game, in which players must move their stream left and right in order to run a race.
There are other games in development, including a racing game.
Players can access an affiliated website called Captive Games in order to see their scores on a live leader-board, and can use Twitter and other social media to share them.
In the summer of 2013, a new vouchering feature was developed to enable a player to 'win' a prize.
As well as the games, the system also acts as a digital signage network: the digital content (media), including videos, graphics, and internet memes, occupies a loop which is displayed when the unit is not in use as a game. Third-party advertisers, as well as the venue itself, can display their own promotional material within this loop.
As a form of out of home advertising, or digital out of home advertising (DOOH), the system takes advantage of the long ‘dwell time’ of the user (research shows that average male ‘visit time’ is up to 55 seconds), and of the memorable nature of the units themselves. As such, Captive Media aims to capitalise on the growing DOOH market worldwide, and the increasing interactive and ‘gamification’ platform market for advertising. PQ Media put global DOOH revenues for 2011 at $6.97 billion, projecting growth to $8.3 billion in 2012. M2 Research forecasts the global gamification platforms market to reach $242 million by the end of 2012, and to climb to $2.8 billion by 2016.
Third-party advertisers to date have included the Portman Group charity DrinkAware.