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Movie & Television Social Media Marketing

November 13th, 2009 Comments

paranormal-activity posterParamount’s micro-budgeted ($15,000) horror phenomenon “Paranormal Activity” reached another notable benchmark yesterday, clearing $100 million at the US box office. The unusual roll-out of this movie is one model that studios and filmmakers are going to need to look at closely as distribution options for smaller to midsize movies continues to shrink.

Independent filmmakers and distributors are turning more and more to social media to help build online buzz around television shows, theatrical and dvd releases of blockbuster and independent movies. There’s an obvious opportunity for them, since these platforms are more affordable, by and large, than traditional, “old media”, especially if you stumble upon the holy grail of online marketing: the appropriation of your messages by the audience. Some have started saying: ‘If we all thought that Facebook and Twitter social media growth phenomena were extraordinary, wait until Social TV hits your screens.

One thing is for sure: Hollywood Studio marketers are becoming Facebook friends and Twitter followers!

“Facebook is really the focus for us right now,” said David Singh, executive VP of creative content for Disney. “Something like 70 to 80 percent of frequent moviegoers under 25 visit Facebook seven or eight times a day. In fact, I think marketers are fixated on Facebook because we tend to use it a lot ourselves.” (posted in The Wrap October 8th)

Stradella Road Study Moviegoers 2012David Singh is right. According to a study released last September by former New Line web marketing guru Gordon Paddison, who is now an industry consultant, 73% of 4,000 moviegoers have established profiles on social media networks.

David Poland has grouped them in 3 categories for us:

CRITICISM:
84% of moviegoers make up their mind to see a movie regardless of what the critics say about it.
62% of moviegoers now get review information online.
45% of heavy moviegoers rely on movie review aggregation sites, placing a high value in seeing an average score.
75% say they trust a friend’s opinion more than a movie critic.
80% say positive reviews from other moviegoers make them more likely to see a movie (vs. 67% who say a positive review from professional critics does).
40% say negative reviews from other moviegoers make them decide not to see a movie (vs. 28% who say negative reviews from professional critics would keep them from going).

WHO’S ONLINE?
94% of all moviegoers are online; this is true across age groups. 88% have high speed/broadband connections.
86% of moviegoers across all demo segments go online via computer or mobile device at least once a day. They spend more time each week online (19.8 hours) than they do watching TV (14.3 hours).
90% of all ages of moviegoers have mobile phones; 32% of moviegoers no longer use a landline (44% of the 18-29 demo).
93% use Internet search to find more information about movies. Exposures that trigger online search include: Seeing a trailer (71%), seeing a TV spot (60%), someone telling you about a movie (58%).

HOW DO MOVIEGOERS FIND OUT ABOUT MOVIES?
69% of moviegoers watch online video content; 66% of moviegoers who look at video content watch movie trailers and 55% watch movie clips.
70% credit awareness from in-theater trailers, 73% from television, 46% from word-of-mouth, and 44% from the internet… all ranking ahead of such traditional methods of advertising as billboards and newspaper advertising.

And this…

Movie choice is highly influenced by group decision-making. The fact that someone else in the group wanted to see a particular movie (55%) was as important to the decision process as the movie’s storyline (57%).

2012 just released in theatres is another (good) example. The movie’s Facebook and MySpace pages contain trailers, photos and other information on the film and promote the iPhone apps, the game and other elements.

Everyone seems to agree that consumers are more and more playing an important role in film distribution. Adertising Age looking at the ultra-low budget Paranormal Activity came up with four lessons to be learned for the marketing community:

- Let consumers dictate distribution.
- Don’t waste money on large-scale TV campaigns when you can talk directly to your fans.
- Don’t create false hype.
- When there are low financial barriers, have fun.

“Paranormal Activity” cost a mere $15,000 to produce, with little spent thus far on traditional media, so Paramount stands to recoup any overhead costs thousands of times over if the film catches on with a national audience. But despite the initial success, “If it all ended today we’d be very happy,” said Paul Greenstein, the studio’s co-president, marketing.

Futurist Ross Dawson interviewed by Davy Adams (CXO Australia) on the future of media and how should marketers best navigate the new order in order to influence buyer behavior, has answered:

There is no simple and foolproof path to success. For marketers, one of the most important issues to deal with is the shift to the “influence economy” (“influence landscape” document here), in which peer and expert influence dominates decision-making. Pushing messages will not give you access to key influencers; engaging in interesting conversations will. This requires capabilities that are new for most large companies.

Future_of_Media_Strategic_Framework

So to conclude, social media technologies could help filmmakers and distributors in:

  • providing insight and commentary in real time (from location during shooting)
  • promoting special contests, sneak previews
  • facilitating collaborative video production experienc
  • involving online communities in the design
  • building conversation about the movie or television season or individual episodes
  • opening dialogue between promoter and promotion participants
  • movie & television website traffic generation
  • promoting events such as movie premiers
  • posting press releases

but ‘none of it should be taken lightly (…), be elegant and responsible while at the same time being strategic’ (words by Gordon Paddison).

Related articles:

Film marketing: notes towards a social media toolbox.

Movie Marketing, Part 1

Social TV Reloaded

Is Content 2.0 = Content as a Service (CaaS)

October 29th, 2009 Comments

BBC News Clip The content industry is worried about distribution becoming free. This is a global phenomenon. The more broadband we have the better devices, the more the push towards sharing without payment is clearly there.

BBC News in their yesterday’s Q&A, Internet Piracy Plans highlights the principal issues:

The creative industries estimate that six million people in the UK regularly file-share copyright content without permission, costing the industries revenue that they cannot recoup.

In 2007, an estimated one billion music tracks and 98 million movies were shared illegally. A report by analyst firm Forrester recently reported that 10% of all internet users in the UK share files illegally. The figure for Europe is 14%.

Will banning persistent file-sharers work?

The creative industries believe illegal file-sharing is almost endemic while the government has set a target of reducing the problem by at least 70% in the next two or three years.

The difficulty is that the problem is a moving target. More persistent illegal file-sharers are already beginning to use software which masks their IP address while online, and the files being exchanged are encrypted, so it is harder for ISPs to use DPI technology.

Stephen Garrett from Kudos, the firm behind Spooks and Ashes to Ashes, warns that illegal file sharing threatens the existence of hit and quality TV shows.

Gerd Leonhard, from MediaFuturist, said in a recent interview:

… On the other hand, the content industry has, to a very large degree, refused to license the content in so many new ways that are being asked for, starting with imeem and YouTube, and MySpace originally. The refusal to license has essentially created a vacuum to where everyone rightly then also says if we can’t actually do it legally, we have two choices which is to quit or to do it without permission. Then you have companies like imeem and MySpace and YouTube initially doing it without permission.

…The discussion about solving this problem with technology is nothing but a fig leaf because it will never work. In a democracy, it’s not actually technically feasible. If you imagine this, then I get disconnected from the web for downloading and I go to my neighbor and use his Wi-Fi.

….It’s basically not a technology problem. It’s a structural and licensing problem. It’s basically a business problem. Whenever you try to solve a business problem with technology, like we have with DVD region coding, and those kinds of things, you end up really going against the consumer and sacrificing things that otherwise the consumer will hate you for.

The key question really is this; does any of this make any money for anyone? Does kicking people off the web because they have downloaded without permission make any money for anyone?

In a perfectly timed article for Contagious Magazine, Faris Yakob (Chief Technology Strategist at McCann Erickson) debunks the “Content is King” aphorism in favor of “Content is the Republic.”

At the heart of Yakob’s thesis are two ideas:The Content Republic clip

1) As more consumers produce content, traditional content monetization models (paid, advertising) are challenged. Because digital content is platform agnostic (no distinction between video, news, articles – it’s all content online) it creates room for different monetization models based on context and consumer desire.

2) Align servicing next to content: iTunes has been successful because it made buying music simple and cheap enough. Youtube is experimenting with a new monetization model by allowing users to offer high-quality downloads of videos for low prices.

So is Content 2.0 Content as a Service…

The leading social media company, Demand Media seems to think such wise and offers it.

The company is currently the 15th most visited property in the US according to comScore. Demand Media has created more than one million pieces of content (artciles and videoas), making it one of the largest producers of content on the web today. The content is distributed to an audience of more than 80 million via Demand Media’s network which include LIVESTRONG.COM, eHow.com, Trails.com, Golflink.com and others.

Demand Media article clipDemand Media seems to have found a new stable and profitable business model, that fits into consumers’ video on demand needs. Here is an extract from a great article published by WIRED MAGAZINE explaining the Demand Media business model:

Volume is also crucial to Demand’s top distribution partner, Google. The search engine has struggled to make money from the 19 billion videos on YouTube, only about 10 percent of which carry ads. Advertisers don’t want to pay to appear next to videos that hijack copyrighted material or that contain swear words, but YouTube doesn’t have the personnel to comb through every user-generated clip. Last year, though, YouTube executives noticed that Demand was uploading hundreds of videos every day — pre-scrubbed by Demand’s own editors, explicitly designed to appeal to advertisers, and cheap enough to benefit from Google’s revenue-sharing business model. YouTube executives approached Demand, asked the company to join its revenue-sharing program, and encouraged it to produce as many videos as possible.