New era, new rules

Film Marketing Summit 2011

For audiences the many way to view movies — via game consoles, smartphones, Internet, television — is a boon but for marketers, it’s been a few years of rewriting the rules of engagement.

“We’ve actually seen growth in this downturn economy on VOD and EST, hitting new levels on VOD and EST,” says Aubrey Freeborn, senior VP of marketing and product management for worldwide VOD and electronic sell-through at 20th Century Fox. Freeborn is a panelist at Variety’s Film Marketing Summit, addressing the topic Marketing Across Windows: Theatrical, VOD, Home Entertainment.

Freeborn says one advance that has affected the industry for the better is day-and-date availability; it has helped VOD growth because of the new releases and the content is fresher.

She adds another reason for the upswing is new improvements in navigation — it is easier to discover and search for content and it is also easier to see what is new and available.

However, Fox is not waiting around to see what the next new invention may be, they, like other Hollywood majors, are being proactive in searching out new ways to market.

“We have worked closely with the cable companies and other studios to create an industrywide marketing effort under the ‘Movies on Demand’ brand that has quickly become the most comprehensive and successful campaign to date for VOD. We’ve only scratched the surface on the growth opportunities,” Freeborn says.

Fox has also made other improvements in looking to get the attention of consumers in the digital download arena, by adding behind-the-scenes material and other special content that consumers came to expect on a DVD onto digital files.

“We can work together with our theatrical colleagues to promote theatrical releases with special content, while at the same time promoting the catalog, such as ‘X-Men: First Class’ and the ‘X-Men’ franchise,” Freeborn says.

Through targeted marketing, Fox has found out a few surprising (and helpful) things as well.

“VOD used to be very male and teen — it’s broadened and now the primary consumer is age 35-44 for women in the traditional VOD outlets. Another interesting thing is that the demos from the platforms vary, based on whether it’s Xbox, Comcast, etc. Our marketing approach is targeted as much as possible based on the demo of the platform,” says Freeborn.

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