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VOD platforms tout Oscar nominees

'Social Network' available on demand Feb. 2

Video-on-demand distributors are seeing Oscar nom announcements as prime fodder for promotional piggybacking.

Time Warner Cable Movies on Demand announced Wednesday that it’s “rolling out the red carpet” for awards season by promoting best picture nominees, including “Inception,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “Toy Story 3,” “Winter’s Bone” and, as of Feb. 2, “The Social Network.”

It’s a natural extension of the cable industry’s recent push to build consumer awareness of movies on VOD, including last year’s $30 million “The Video Store Just Moved In” ad campaign. The majors are also focused on making premium VOD a bigger business.

Nathalie Burgos, public affairs coordinator for Time Warner Cable, said part of the promotion’s appeal is that the movies already have built-in buzz, and packaging a VOD destination is easy.

“We already had a lot of the titles because many were day-and-date releases,” Burgos said. “Populating them into one folder is pretty easy for our team when they’re already on our platform,” she said.

Burgos said Time Warner has reached out to audiences via the company’s website, Facebook, Twitter and emails to customers to inform them of the Oscar nominee options.

“It’s a way for the viewer to get prepared for the big night,” she said. “It’s ‘Here are the nominees on VOD, so you don’t have to look online or go to the videostore.’ ”

Movies on Demand released its own announcement about offerings, including nominees in other categories, such as “Salt” for sound mixing, “The Town” for supporting actor and “How to Train Your Dragon” for animated feature.

Ellen Cooper, VP of corporate communications for In Demand, said the promo efforts are part of an overall branding strategy.

“This year we saw awards season as an important differentiator for the Movies on Demand platform,” she said. “This is part of a bigger effort by the cable industry to build a brand.”

Cooper said the VOD effort is a multifaceted campaign.