Panel plugs into the ‘Net

Execs download strategies at confab

The Internet is becoming an established part of movie marketing campaigns, with new media like wireless and videogames the cutting-edge platforms that studios are still trying to figure out.

Speaking on a panel at the Variety and iMedia-sponsored Integrate ’06 confab Thursday, three top studio marketing honchos expressed well-established strategies for the Web.

“It’s not just about the right medium, but what’s the right message for that medium,” said Fox exec VP strategic marketing Kevin Campbell, who noted studios already subdivide their messages online.

“With ‘Ice Age: the Meltdown,’ we used the ‘Scrat’ character to broaden our message to teens, while we had arcade-style games for kids.”

Execs estimated Internet spending is typically between 3% and 5% of total marketing budgets, and is rising somewhat faster than overall marketing budgets.

Focus marketing prexy David Brooks noted that figure can vary significantly by audience. “For one of our Rogue movies targeted at young men, we absolutely have to invest in the Internet,” he said. “But if we’re going after audiences over 30, the habits of 10 years ago still work fine.”

But the ‘Net, which has now been used to promote movies for almost a decade, is in many ways becoming old hat to studios as young auds’ preferences rapidly change.

“It used to be there was a new consumer set to adjust to every generation,” observed New Line exec VP, integrated marketing Gordon Paddison. “Now technology changes so rapidly that every five years there is a new stage.”

At this point, however, marketing via mobile devices can be tricky, execs acknowledged to moderator Charles C. Koones, Variety prexy-publisher. They observed it’s tough to reach beyond core fans since most mobile content has to be discovered and, in many cased, bought.

Internet-connected vidgames have potential, they said, but need better business models.

“I would be interested in gaming if there was a decent campaign and they didn’t try to rape us,” Paddison said.

Disney-ABC Television Group VP digital media Albert Cheng won the 2006 visionary marketer award at the confab, which also included several panels on interactive marketing,