New Job for Actors: Promoting Digital Home Video Releases

More studios and distributors are asking talent to help promote sales of Digital HD titles

An actor’s job isn’t done after he or she promotes a movie’s theatrical release. Studios are increasingly asking talent to push a film’s homevideo release, especially on digital platforms.

Access to talent for social media promotion is being written into contracts with independent producers by Millennium Entertainment, the company’s Steve Nickerson said.

Fox also found success in Digital HD sales of “The Wolverine” after Hugh Jackman promoted the early release to his 3 million Twitter followers. Director James Mangold also hyped the pic to his own online followers, boosting results.

“Why not direct people to where they can buy (the movie) and get the transactional benefit from social media?,” Nickerson asked during a home entertainment panel Wednesday during Variety’s Entertainment Summit at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “It’s a call out to action, not promotion.”

PHOTOS: Variety’s Entertainment Summit at CES

Panelists including Mike Dunn, president of home entertainment at 20th Century Fox and former Sony homevid chief David Bishop, said actors’ fanbases are valuable, especially when it comes to reaching the right consumer on various online retailers.

The demographic that purchases movies through Microsoft’s Xbox Live platform is different from individuals who buy through Apple’s iTunes or Walmart’s Vudu, panelists said, and actors can help drive their fans to retail outlets that match varying interests.

But this new demand on talent should give agents and attorneys negotiating power to ask for more money, especially if they can associate specific sales numbers to the Tweets or Facebook posts an actor sent out to fans.

Studios were encouraged by last year’s digital sales of films and TV shows, with digital revenue up nearly 50%, according to the Digital Entertainment Group.

Hollywood’s homevideo divisions are looking to get back to the 2006 levels when 30% of films were purchased and 70% rented. Now the figure is at 20% for purchases and 80% for rentals.

That should help increase usage of digital storage lockers like UltraViolet. Vudu claims it has customers who own 2,000 to 3,000 movies and boast about it online.

Those people are called “whales” in Las Vegas, Dunn joked.

More Biz

  • Andy Signore Screen Junkies

    'Honest Trailers' Creator Andy Signore Settles Defy Media Suit

    Andy Signore, the creator of Screen Junkies’ “Honest Trailers,” has settled a lawsuit against Defy Media challenging his firing for alleged sexual misconduct. Signore was one of the first figures to lose his job in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein harassment revelations in October 2017. Defy Media, which then owned Screen Junkies, terminated him [...]

  • Singer-rapper Psy performs during the 70th

    YG Agency Boss Quits as K-Pop Scandals Expand

    Yang Hyun-suk last week resigned from his remaining positions at YG Entertainment. The talent agency he co-founded is deeply mired in a series of inter-linked scandals that stretch from drugs to prostitution. Problems started with the band Bigbang and its star Seungri, but now also encompass other YG artists. Hwang Bo-kyung was appointed as the [...]

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full Power of Pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at Mr. Purple, the rooftop bar at Hotel Indigo Lower East Side in Manhattan, Variety’s cover stars and luminaries gathered for cocktails and the unveiling [...]

  • Motown Seeks to Block 'O-Town' Trademark

    Motown Seeks to Block 'O-Town' Trademark

    UPDATED: The boy band O-Town briefly rose to fame in 2000, with a star turn on MTV’s reality series “Making the Band.” But the reformed group has just one obstacle to its efforts to trademark its name: Motown Recordings. The label’s parent company, Universal Music Group, is trying to block the band from registering “O-Town” [...]

  • Alyssa Milano

    Alyssa Milano Settles $10 Million Suit With Former Accountant

    Actress Alyssa Milano has settled a legal battle with her former accountant as the case was on the verge of going to trial. Milano and her husband, agent David Bugliari, filed suit in 2017, alleging that accountant Kenneth Hellie had forged her signature on checks, failed to pay overdue bills and taxes and allowed costs [...]

  • J Balvin ‘Amicably’ Parts Ways With

    J Balvin ‘Amicably’ Parts Ways With Longtime Manager Rebeca Leon

    J Balvin and his longtime manager Rebeca León have “amicably” parted ways, reps for the singer and León confirmed to Variety. The news was first reported by Billboard. León — who also oversees the careers of fast-rising Spanish singer Rosalia as well as Colombian superstar Juanes, with whom she founded Lionfish Entertainment — began managing Balvin early in his career [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content