Movie Marketing to Change

Network and cable TV have long accounted for over 50% of ad budget allocations when movie production companies begin promoting a new film. But the effects of a slower economy and changes in media consumption habits having movie producers rethinking their marketing strategies.  In some cases, producers are spending less money. In other cases, they are channeling money to different media outlets.

Writing for AdAge, Andrew Hampp notes that ad promotions for movies dropped 6.6% when the first half of 2010 is compared to the similar time period in 2009.  He also points out that the portion of the budget allocated to TV has dropped while outdoor media allocation rose 20%.  Steve Farella, CEO of TargetCast TCM confirms that the change in strategy mirrors the fragmentation of audience. People have access to so many channels and sources of visual entertainment that it makes sense to shift spending. It’s also not clear if the ad spending in 2010 reflects the fact that fewer movies were made. Another possible explanation is that movie marketers may not necessarily have spent less on promotion last year. They may have increased spending using Internet search – data that is  currently not included in the Kantar Media industry summaries.

Regardless of how much money is allocated for promotion, production companies are definitely exploring new advertising models. For many, this means moving online. Often, a production company spends the bulk of ad budgets starting about six weeks before a movie is released. And urban markets may witness especially heavy expenditures during that time frame. But at least one production company has begun promoting its new movie one year ahead of release.  The promotion is linked to the new book by Nicholas Sparks, Safe Haven, being released later this month. The film production company, Relativity Media, has agreed to promote the book in addition to building online audiences for the upcoming movie.

Movie producers plan to continue adjusting their promotional strategies. Some companies will “DVR-​proof” their ads, other will consider live sports sponsorships, and marketers will also hope to generate unique ads that may go viral online.

[Sources: Trachtenberg, Jeffrey. Hollywood Gives Book Early Push. Wall Street Journal. 30 Aug. 2010. Web. 31 Aug. 2010; Hampp, Andrew. A Look at Where Movie-​Marketing Dollars Have Gone. AdAge​.com. 31 Aug. 2010. Web. 7 Sept. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.