Industry Report: Marketing
Film marketing on Internet
by Europa Distribution
03/10/2007 - Moderated by Régine Vial, French distributor of Les Films du Losange , the Europa Distribution conference about Film Marketing on Internet gathered Anne Sanchez from Mercredi agency, Grégoire Lassalle from Allociné, and Quitterie Pagniez, from e-TF1.
There is a duality of Internet for the film industry: it can promote efficiently movies but it also can endanger the film industry by the phenomenon of piracy. Nowadays, Internet is a medium for the promotion of movies, just like the display, press, radio or TV. It has, however, its specifity: it’s the distributor who controls what and how he wants to communicate. The new challenge today is to provide more content for Internet that you usually find on other promotional material. Each movie has got its specificities (target, genre, theme, public,...) that must be taken into account for its promotion on Internet.
There are four ways of promoting a movie on Internet:
Websites (Quitterie Pagniez - e-TF1, creative movie websites)
The construction of a website is based on the target. Its graphics, its content, its games, its goodies depend on the movie itself and on its specificities. It’s possible to build two different website versions when the movie enables it (a website for children and a website for parents in the case of a children's movie, for example).
The biggest issue is then the referencing. In order to be well referenced, it is necessary to create the movie's website at the earliest possible stage (during its shooting or minimum 2/3 months before its release).
To ensure that the website exists, all the possible content has to be available for Internet users (teasers, photos, interviews, press kit, press articles).
Partnerships (Anne Sanchez - Mercredi agency, specialised on Movie Promotion)
It's very important to choose the Internet partnership, which corresponds to the target you want to reach. Today's technology allows every segment of the contents of a site to target a specific audience. A partnership can be implemented only if the distributor provides enough exclusive content (video, photos, posters, etc.) on the website of its partners. Community sites correspond to a younger audience while e-commerce sites target an older generation.
Partnerships are not significant monetary investments. There is a need to diversify partnerships to increase the visibility of the film. The number of clicks should not be the only rate to measure the site's audience: the traffic is not only related to the movie but also to the product the site proposed. This allows visibility of the film in a different context than others websites specializing in cinema.
Viral Marketing and Community Sites (Anne Sanchez)
Viral marketing is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral promotions may take the form of funny video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, images, or even text messages.
The main objective is to create a customizable by the user (character, story, drawing, high-score to a game ...) that will be shared with his friends. This allows more traffic and better visibility for the movie. In addition, the ideal is to propose exclusive Internet allocations (free tickets, posters, goodies, private screenings ...) in order to motivate Internet users.
However, much as it is when the film permits, the viral marketing is expensive and demands substantial resources (human, financial and computer).
Community sites, blogs and forum can be a way to communicate on a movie cheaply. However, it's difficult to rely on it because it's hard to monitor and verify certain content.
Investments (Grégoire Lassalle - DG Allociné, Entertainment website)
Advertising investments made over the Internet started really in 2003 and have increased a lot in the past 4 years. They represent nowadays around 6% of the promotion of movies. The Internet has become unavoidable, but the distributors have to buy useful spaces, otherwise it’s not efficient.
Some websites (like Allociné) segment their offer according to film theatre, date, city... to buy space. It is easier to hit its target with the Internet than traditional media and for the moment, less expensive. With Internet, it is possible to know how many people have clicked on the banner with the link, have downloaded the trailer ... These data may provide clues before the release of the movie, including on public expectations for the film. It’s important that the content (video or pictures) is offered in good quality.
As advertising campaigns on traditional media are expensive, it’s even more important that independent distributors use Internet to offer visibility to their movies.
Anne Sanchez recommends to the ED distributors to exchange their ideas, their marketing tools and creation, in order to create synergies.