Social Networks: The Next Frontier of Online Movie
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Social Networks: The Next Frontier of Online Movie Promotion
Catalyst: People who are active on social networking websites are a prime audience for advertisers, but what
are the most effective ways for movie studios to reach this audience?
• What impact do social networks have on traditional online movie promotion?
• Does movie consumption among social networkers differ from those who do not regularly engage with
• How should studios target their audiences on social networks?
Interpret Insight: Social networks are changing the way studios promote their movies online. While trailers and
movie-dedicated websites have been effective at driving interest in a movie, promotion tactics need to shift
towards social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter because their users make up two-thirds of the
theatrical movie audience and consume post-theatrical movies on DVD, Blu-ray and Video On Demand at higher
rates than those who do not belong to a social network. Recognizing the unique elements of these networks,
Interpret believes there exists an unrealized opportunity for studios to engage with their customers in more
socially beneficial ways.
The Next Frontier of Online Movie Promotion
Consumers are spending more time online than ever before, and movie studios have responded by devoting a
greater share of their promotion budgets to the digital space. Teasers and trailers can be found anywhere from
a movie’s dedicated website to IMDB.com and YouTube. Studios make an effort to appeal to bloggers and other
online-based review websites just as they do with traditional newspapers and periodicals. Launching a movie
to ‘viral’ status with uniquely targeted online experiences has slowly become the holy grail of online
advertising. The method for designing viral promotions is both mysterious and elusive, but social networks
hold the greatest promise for both sparking and tracking the performance of the dollars pumped into these
Social media online has been one of the primary drivers of increased internet usage, drawing in older audiences
with the promise of reconnecting to their past and increasing the engagement of a younger audience already
familiar with the benefits of augmenting their real life with a digital social network. Studios have not yet
realized the full potential of these networks as vehicles for promoting their movies because they are still
relatively new, and the techniques necessary for capitalizing on their value are still in the process of being
refined and tested. Movies like Snakes on a Plane, Cloverfield, 2012 and Paranormal Activity are strong
evidence that studios are becoming more adept at designing effective online promotion campaigns, but the
next step to increasing the return on studio’s online investment is to effectively engage their consumers on
social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Social Networkers are Heavy Movie Consumers
Social networks provide a platform for users to express their passion for the movies they experience. Profiles
often feature an area where users can enter their favorite movies, and status updates are frequently made after
seeing movies in the theater or on DVD. Given the built-in movie engagement qualities of social network
profiles, it should come as no surprise that these networ