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NEW YORK — Joseph Craig has been named general manager of NRGi, a newly launched arm of Nielsen Entertainment market research firm NRG that will aim to focus on the indie movie sector.

An 11-year NRG vet, Craig is transferring from Los Angeles to Gotham to fill the post. Miramax Films director of research Pauline Sealey-Kitazato also has come aboard NRGi at the veep level. Further NRG staffers in L.A. will work under both banners.

Craig said the label will service the indie feature sector, from studio specialty arms to standalone players and individual filmmakers.

“There are new strategies and new ways of looking at data geared especially toward indie films,” Craig said. “Not only to maximize box office but to make sure that (distribs and filmmakers) are hearing the needs of the true independent film viewers. These are strategies that will help early on, hearing from moviegoers what best represents a movie.”

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Sundance celebration

As part of its launch, NRGi is co-sponsoring a Sundance Film Festival fete Jan. 25 — with former Miramax exec Weiman Seid’s new firm Fat Dot — to celebrate the Park City pics “The Squid and the Whale” and “Loggerheads.”

NRGi bow diversifies the Nielsen brand as its venerable box office reporting unit, Nielsen EDI, has found itself in heated competish with Rentrak, the burgeoning electronic B.O. reporting pioneer.

NRG has traditionally offered a range of movie-marketing services, including box office tracking, focus group testing and surveys gauging viewer response to TV ads. MarketCast, an NRG competitor in some segments, also services the indie film world, but with no separate division per se.

Craig added that potential clients for his firm will include “all of the arthouse distributors and each of the independent minded mini-majors — even the filmmakers themselves — that are trying to figure out what’s working and what’s not about their films.”

“We want to make sure that their movie reaches an audience in the best possible light,” he said. “Commercial to me is just realizing the target audience.”

One specialty division head at a major studio reacted Thursday by saying NRGi’s more targeted services for indies could be a good fit for companies like his with budgetary restraints. He added that the research firm’s building of a database particular to indies will be of value down the line.

NRG is owned by VNU, parent company of the Hollywood Reporter. MarketCast is a unit of Daily Variety parent company Reed Elsevier.