Scatter shots

Marketers take aim at a new kind of fragmented aud

WHAT: Integrate ’05
WHEN: 8 a.m. today
WHERE: Bev Hills Hotel
CO-SPONSORS: Variety & the iMedia Connection
ON HAND: Peter Bart, Brad Berens, Karen Bloore, Laura Caraccioli-Davis, Lee Doyle, Adam Fogelson, Alan Gerson Ted Harbert, Charlie Koones, Vince Manze, John Miller, Richard Plepler, Gordon Paddison, Mike Rose, Greg Smith, Dawn Taubin

Even at the zenith of the Internet bubble, when buzz words like “convergence” were as commonplace as interactive marketing conferences, the typical entertainment consumer could still be reliably targeted at home watching sitcoms or on their way to work staring at a billboard.

But sometime over the last few years, there was a tipping point in how people select and consume entertainment — causing marketers to have to be more creative and precise than ever before.

Penetration of broadband into U.S. homes reached nearly 45% last year, according to Motion Picture Assn. of America data, with Americans spending 77% more time online than they did in 2000.

“The explosion of broadband is a great thing, because nothing sells a movie like having people be able to dowload and watch a trailer,” says Lee Doyle, who, as head the Paramount Pictures account for Mediaedge:cia, recently spearheaded media-buying for “War of the Worlds.”

“But the scary thing about the current media revolution is that it isn’t just one device or innovation that’s changing consumer behavior,” Doyle adds.

Certainly, the number of cable and satellite channels has increased — 25% from 2000-04, while viewership of them was up 31% over that time, according to MPAA data.

Penetration of DVD players into U.S. TV homes has surpassed 60%, and viewers watched 53% more homevid programming than they did in 2000.

U.S. consumers now spend more time playing vidgames, too — 20% more in 2004 than they did in 2000, and about 13% less hours reading consumer mags and 6% less time perusing newspapers.

Average hours spent each year viewing broadcast network programs also dropped, about 10% from 2000-2004, while household penetration of ad-skipping digital video recorders surpassed 10% — on its way to over 40%, once cable and satellite companies complete their big rollouts.

” ‘Convergence’ was a big buzz word a few years ago, but I don’t think a lot of people really knew what it meant,” says Jen Caserta, senior VP of marketing for IFC. “Now, we’re seeing it in action, and it encompasses everything — cable, DVD, DVRs, cell phones, iPods. … It’s grown in mass.”

Perhaps “fragmentation” is a more appropriate term. But ironically, marketers say converging on their target demos amid all this clutter is actually easier with more people online.

“The Internet is fully conversational medium,” says Ian Schafer, prexy of online ad agency Deep Focus. “There’s a two-way dialogue happening.”

For instance, while TV remains the dominant medium for promoting theatrical titles, marketers now rely on complementary tools such as online surveys to ensure their ads are effective.

“Awareness isn’t the only issue now,” Doyle says. “We need to measure what’s making people go to movies.

“For example, (for ‘War of the Worlds’), we would traditionally try to get Tom Cruise on ‘David Letterman,'” he adds. “But one of the interesting insights we’ve gained (from online surveys) is that having stars host an entire lineup of programming is even more effective in getting people to go to the movie.”

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