Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Look at Where Movie-Marketing Dollars Have Gone


Also: Execs Weigh in on the Challenges Facing Film Studios and Media Owners in Fragmented Landscape

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'Twilight: Eclipse', released this summer.
'Twilight: Eclipse', released this summer. 
But most surprising is a series of cuts in TV spending, with network ($697 million vs. $720.3 million), spot ($79.6 million vs. $94.2 million) and even cable ($413.8 million vs. $426.5 million) all posting decreases during the period. Considering studios spend 70% to 75% of their budget on TV for an average wide release, shifting a couple million into other media may seem like chump change.

But moviegoers are a tech-savvy lot, and more than 66% of them do not watch their TV programming live but time-shifted on DVRs, according to the Moviegoers 2010 study from entertainment marketing firm Stradella Road. And with eMarketer projecting DVR penetration to reach 34.8% of U.S. households and 42% of homes to be video-on-demand-enabled in 2010 -- not to mention the rise of streaming-video platforms such as Hulu, Netflix and iTunes -- it's more difficult than ever for movie marketers to be sure their ads are being seen by the time the opening weekend rolls around. 

"We've been battling quick-reach media for years. When prime time was the way for us to grab big-reach figures very quickly, it was easy to launch a movie or a product. Now you'd have to buy 600 commercials on cable TV just to reach 50% of your target," said Steve Farella, CEO of independent media agency TargetCast TCM. "Even if you applied that to broadcast prime time, you're still buying 100 to 150 commercials just to reach 50% of your target. You can't do that overnight." 

For many studios, that means changing up where their money is spent on TV and making other media work harder.  "You do one of two things: build event status awareness for films by buying television advertising or sponsorships somewhere that has a low [DVR] playback rate, like live sporting events, or create an ad that is unexpected and original enough to break through the clutter on-air and/or be spread virally online," said Erika Schimik, senior VP-media and research for Lionsgate. 

Studios have also been experimenting with their TV ads to make them more DVR-proof, whether it's framing them with black bars so that viewers know it's a movie ad, doubling the number of seconds the title is displayed so it's still seen during fast-forwarding, or buying the first and last segments in commercial pods. 

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