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McDonald’s TV is Here

McDonald’s is offering up something new on its menu – television.

The fast food giant is testing McDonald’s TV – an in-house high-definition TV service – in almost 800 restaurants throughout California.

U.S. broadcast network, ABC, and British import, BBC America, will contribute.

Online content provider, VIMBY, which stands for Video In My Back Yard, backed by reality TV star-producer Mark Burnett, has also signed on.

The station will be run by startup Channelport Communications. CEO, Lee Edmondson, explains what’s on the menu.

“It would be content that we would co-brand with content providers, whether it be news, weather, or sports. It will be a lot of special interest programming. There will be some original programming and that will grow and our intention is to have it grow.”

McDonald’s TV is going on air at a time when the restaurants are doing well. McDonald’s is beating the competition thanks to its popular dollar menu and new premium sandwiches and drinks.

RJ Hottovy, of Morningstar, thinks the TV channel will pay off in two ways:

“I think what you’ve seen is that when you offer different types of in-store entertainment it does tend to keep customers around. The longer that a customer stays in a restaurant or retailer, the chances of them buying extra products or adding to their ticket increase exponentially. And I think that’s part of the end game here with McDonald’s. I also think it’s important for them to tailor their marketing messages in the store, whether it be new products they are releasing or new limited time offerings. I think this could be a valuable channel to promote those new products.”

The in-house TV programming also fits in with a wider upgrade of McDonald’s locations, with many now including wi-fi hotspots as McDonald’s tries to expand the brand beyond fast food.

Bottom line: McDonald’s is testing a new in-house television station in nearly 800 restaurants on the U.S. west coast as it looks to expand its competitive lead over rivals and make McDonald’s more than just a quick pit stop.