×

NBCU Uses Ticket Sales in Pitch for Hollywood Ad Dollars

Fandango ticketing service is key behind effort to snare film dollars in tough market

The Peacock is making a play for more ad dollars from movie studios.

Starting Monday, NBCUniversal will promote the new Summit Entertainment movie, “RED2” on its USA, Syfy and E! cablers with 60-second video vignettes that are tailored for each network’s specific audience and that will prod viewers to buy tickets to the movie using NBCU-owned tickets service Fandango.com.

“All three of these pieces when they appear on air will have two things as common denominators: Opening graphics customized for each channel, including the channel logo in each one of those piece and at the end, a drive to go to Fandango to purchase your ticket,” said John Shea, chief marketing officer for NBCUniversal, in an interview. The Syfy vignette will focus on behind-the-scenes processes, such as how stunts were completed, he said, while E! will put a spotlight on the film’s female stars including Helen Mirren. At Fandango, a video gallery will offer extended interviews with the film’s cast while the site offers chances to buy tickets to the movie in advance.

The push underscores a broadening trend in the TV business. Movie studios have long represented an important piece of the advertising that fuels its coffers, but the studios have been said to be committing less to TV in advance of its big fall season, according to ad buyers, forcing media companies to devise more creative ideas to capture advertising.

These buying executives have noted that advance advertising commitments from movie studios were down in last year’s upfront market, the period when the TV networks try to sell the bulk of their inventory for the fall season. Those commitments have also been slow in coming this year, ad buyers have said, helping to contribute to one of the more protracted upfront sessions in recent memory. Both NBCUniversal and Walt Disney’s ABC are said to still be working on selling inventory to advertisers – a process that in most years is wrapped up by mid-to-late June.

NBCU has long demonstrated a willingness to break convention to promote movies. Its broadcast network NBC has allowed promos for films from sibling Universal such as “American Gangster” or “Evan Almighty” to run along the bottom third of the screen during first-run episodes of programs like “Heroes” – obscuring the drama in the process.

“This was the first time we really went into the marketplace and said we can do a version of what we do for ourselves for you,” Shea said. While techniques such as tailored videos and customized promotions have been seen elsewhere on the set-top box, NBCU’s emphasis on Fandango is designed to get movie studios to view the company as having something distinct to offer, Shea said.

The deal with Summit is the first to be unveiled since NBCU’s ad-sales staff made a concerted tour in March to pitch its media outlets as a venue to movie-studio marketing executives. Shea said. NBCU has been making the point that it can use advertising on any number of its networks to drive Fandango-centered ticket sales, no matter whether the film is a big-tent blockbuster or a small indie film.

“We have a lot of conversations going on with a bunch of different partners,” Shea said. “Red2” is slated for a July 19 release. Summit is part of Lionsgate.

The film follows a retired black-ops agent who puts his old team of operatives back in play to thwart a cadre of threats. In addition to Mirren, the movie brings back Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker, and also stars Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Byung-hun Lee.

More Biz

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

  • New York City NYC Placeholder

    CityFM Podcast Takes a Deep Look at New York’s Music Scene (Listen)

    First among the many projects listed at the beginning of New York Music Month in June was a WNYE radio show and podcast called CityFM that promised to “explore the city’s music culture, emerging artists and trends, and upcoming events told through the lens of what’s happening around the city in Summer 2019.” And while [...]

  • Live Nation Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation)

    Live Nation Confirms Placing Tickets Directly on Secondary Market at Artists’ Request

    Representatives for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company and owner of Ticketmaster, confirmed that it bypassed conventional channels and directly placed thousands of concert tickets on the secondary market upon artists’ request, in an article published in Billboard. In a statement shared with Variety, the company acknowledged that it has facilitated the transfer of [...]

  • Costume designer Michele Clapton

    Costume Designers Fashion a Plan to Fight for Pay Parity in Upcoming Contract Talks

    The Costume Designers Guild Local 892 is gearing up to fight for pay equity in its 2021 contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, establishing a pay-equity committee to raise awareness of the scale disparity between the mostly female CDG membership and the mostly male membership of the Art Directors Guild Local [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content