July 25, 2016

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Online Video Changing the Game for Movie Marketing

Online Video Changing the Game for Movie Marketing

Online video is changing the game for movie marketing at a frenetic pace. Right now online you can:
• Watch an extended [scene ](http://www.apple.com/trailers/disney/nationaltreasurebookofsecrets/nt2_exclusive_medium.html)from *National Treasure: Book of Secrets*
• Watch the [first five minutes](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LnQyHC86I8) from *Alien vs. Predator: Requiem*
• Sample the [entire soundtrack](http://www.amazon.com/Sweeney-Demon-Barber-Street-Deluxe/dp/B000X4OVLM/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1197349037&sr=1-1) from *Sweeney Todd*, as well as the movie’s [opening credit sequence](http://www.broadwayworld.com/videoplay.cfm?colid=23667)
• View a [deleted scene](http://www.littlebostonnews.com/) from *There Will Be Blood*
• View the [first 10 minutes](http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/walkhard/ign/index.html?hs320=walkhard_clipspage+walkhard_IGN_10minute_trailer) from *Walk Hard*
• The [first three minutes](http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809768369/video/5453908) of *I Am Legend* are online at Yahoo.
If you look closely you’ll see a trend here.
You could spend days talking about how the Internet has changed marketing as a whole and movie marketing in particular. But we’re now entering a phase where traditional movie marketing tactics seem to be giving way to ideas that take particular advantage of people’s love of online video, a love that’s been fostered by higher broadband speeds.
The first time I can think of a studio using an extended clip or opening X minutes of a movie as part of the campaign was 20th Century Fox’s for *Elektra*, the *Daredevil* spinoff starring Jennifer Garner. The movie was released in early 2005, which, while not that long ago, still pre-dates the widespread popularity of YouTube. Online video was in its adolescence, and this marked the start of things to come.
At the time, releasing content beyond the standard theater and television preview was a revolutionary move. But for the movie it made sense. That opening sequence featured Elektra kicking hinder in, for the character, classic fashion. It was a solid sequence and releasing it in full gave anyone who might be on the fence about the movie a strong reason to believe it would be a solid effort that was respectful to the long-lived comic book character. As it turned out, the movie was a mess–but the clip was pretty cool.
Almost three years later, it seems releasing full sequences from upcoming movies is commonplace. Streaming video has matured, if not yet to adulthood (that will be when I can watch a full movie online easily regardless of what browser/operating system I use) than at least to its later teen years.
More than that, though, studios are realizing that lengthy clips from the finished product can potentially sell the movie better than the expertly edited and arranged trailers that they have produced. That’s going hand in hand with the decline in effectiveness of other marketing techniques. People who are immune to spin and hard-sell advertising are, it appears, tuning out traditional movie trailers as well.
If you look at the movies with online content I listed above, you’ll see that they’re all either 1) Action movies, 2) Crass comedies, or 3) Dark, brooding dramas. Who’s the target audience for all three of these categories? Guys. Considering men account for 78 percent of streaming video viewers, according to an April eMarketer report, that means the studios are paying attention to online media usage reports in the same way they look at TV viewership and print readership numbers.
That customer dissatisfaction with standard techniques is likely to blame – at least in part – for the overall disappointing year Hollywood has had at the box office. They found they couldn’t force mediocre product on the audience by creating super cool trailers. So they turn to clips, where the audience can’t say as easily that they’re being spun.
I would expect this to keep growing as a tactic. The groundwork has been laid, the trails blazed and the return on investment is obviously high enough for it to be continually used, eventually expanding into other genres geared toward other audiences.
*Chris Thilk is a Chicago-based new media PR specialist and writer of MovieMarketingMadness.com*

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