Marketing Madness in 60 Seconds: 4/3/09

METRICS

TiVo says it will accommodate advertisers looking for more of its data on who watched what sort of programming – including advertising – by doubling the amount of households whose set-top boxes are included in the sample audience. Selling ratings data is seen by TiVo as being a big source of additional revenue.

PRNewswire will begin offering metrics around where and how the press releases companies issue through it are picked up online. That includes blog posts and more. PRN will then help companies who have a press release that doesn’t get wide pick-up figure out how to make the release rank higher among search results.

MEDIA

180 newspapers across the country have agreed to co-brand their online real-estate sections with Zillow.com. The papers are apparently looking to offload more of the heavy lifting and figured adding Zillow’s search and other functionality was a good place to start.

SOCIAL NETWORKING

Blog publisher/ad network Glam Media has launched Tinker, a new tool that aggregates Twitter conversations based on keywords and putting them into a single stream people can customize or simply follow.

Andrew Goodman asks the provocative question: Is Guy Kawasaki ruining Twitter? Well worth reading.

Facebook and Adobe have partnered to bring Flash to the developer platform for Facebook apps. Cause the world needs more Flash.

I’m whole-heartedly with Stephen Baker, who says he has no interest in functionality like a “vote up/down” button being added to Twitter, saying it’s just going to cause more problems than it solves.

Twitter says it’s going to do as good a job as it can in disclosing paid relationships, something that’s important to note as it enters into more of just those sort of relationships.

I’m guessing no, the average Facebook users doesn’t quite understand what they’re sharing when they log in to others sites with Facebook Connect. But I’m also guessing they wouldn’t care all that much if they did because it’s so convenient and online users have shown they’re increasingly fine with their data being used for better ad targeting.

ADVERTISING

Google is shuttering their AdSense for Video units, their program that allowed site publishers to post YouTube videos containing ads, at the end of April. This doesn’t effect the placement of video ads through AdSense, though, so don’t worry.

As part of their deal to post short-form video on YouTube, ABC/Disney will also be able to sell in-stream ads on those videos.

Advertisers and TV networks are beginning to take a less adversarial stance toward DVRs and the audience that uses them. Granted, that means a rise in product placement, ads that take over the bottom third of the screen for 30 seconds and other such tactics, but at least they’ve started adapting to the new reality rather than flailing against it.

A study commissioned by a print publisher and distributor of television programming says that print and TV ads have higher ROI than online advertising. Shocker.

The lead in this story about how cable companies are looking into more web-based functionality and viewing is buried. The real meat of the piece is that cable companies want more interactivity through set-top boxes because it means there’s potential for more interactive commercials to be distributed.

Broadcast networks saw online advertising revenue top $1 billion in 2008, a 36% increase over 2007.

ONLINE VIDEO

Hulu is growing in terms of visitors and overall audience but the advertising dollars aren’t growing at the same clip. It’s falling prey, unfortunately, to still being seen as “experimental” by buyers as well as the fact that the high-quality online video market is expanding on an almost daily basis.

YouTube is making a play for more of that professionally-produced – and therefore safe for brand advertisers – content by redesigning in such a way to clearly give that sort of content its own section, away from all the user-generated stuff. It’s clearly a response to Hulu and other sites and might wind up being a turning point in what kind of video gets posted to the site.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

Hmmm. A new survey says clients aren’t doing all that great in communicating goals and other important information to their agencies.

Jeremiah Owyang wonders what would happen if PR agencies started representing user communities instead of brands. This is kind of ridiculous since it fails to ask the questions of 1) What would these communities need an agency for, 2) Who’s the lead contact with the agency, 3) What can the agency do that the communities can’t, 4) Who’s going to pay the agency and about 17 others that I don’t have the time to go into.

Before the Feature: Screenvision nabs Marcus, Feds hit the big-screen

on-screen-adsScreenvision has won Marcus Theaters away from chief rival National CineMedia, bringing Screenvision’s reach to over 15,300 screens.

The federal government is using pre-show ads to warn movie goers about home foreclosure scams and educate them enough to avoid shady operations that claim to help them navigate foreclosure but charge outrageous fees. The campaign is running in markets that have high foreclosure rates and the spot was produced by National CineMedia.

Screenvision has partnered with Cinema Scene Marketing to offer interactive digital marketing promotions that can be deployed to movie theater lobbies. The partnership opens up the units to Screenvisions roster of clients, both movie studios and retailers looking to reach the movie-going audience.

Picking Up the Spare: I Love You Man, Sunshine Cleaning, Monsters Vs. Aliens

bowling-pinsI Love You Man

Brandweek dives more into the promotional partnership deal between the movie and Vespa, talking about both the contest the scooter company ran and also how the vehicle was integrated into the movie, something that coincides with co-star Jason Segel driving one in real life. Vespa is trying to position their scooters as environmentally friendly and relatively low-cost alternatives.

I also received pictures of the billboards that were actually installed around L.A. for the fictional real estate agency owned and operated by Paul Rudd’s character.

i-love-you-man-billboardi-love-you-man-billboard-2i-love-you-man-billboard-3

Sunshine Cleaning

I’m not going to link to them simply because they’re more or less all expired, but I did get a note from some of the publicity guys working on the movie with links to the various contests and promotions they had set up with some blogs and other online outlets.

Monsters Vs. Aliens

I forgot about this, but RealD offered a UStream-powered video feed widget from the movie’s premiere red carpet event. You can still view footage from the event on that page.

Robert Marich talks about the costs of the worldwide marketing for the movie and also about how the success of the film will be closely watched by Wall Street investors. That’s because the studio’s financing deals and that fact that it only releases a small number of films, each one has to be a success or the studio’s stock price could take a major hit.

There are a few more “viral” sites that I hadn’t heard about but which add some backstory to the movie’s characters and locations. There’s one for W.R. Monger, one for Pacific Monster Island and one for Old Man Carl’s snack food company.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

In a new interview with Anne Thompson, Seth Rogen says he pushed Harvey Weinstein to launch a more full-throated marketing campaign that embraced the movie’s raunchy title and is still frustrated that his input wasn’t listened to.

Quick Takes: 04/03/09

filmstripIt shouldn’t be all that surprising that two studios are among those using YouTube’s new larger banner ad format. Both Universal Studios and Lionsgate have tried out the bigger units, advertising Fast and Furious and The Haunting in Connecticut, respectively.

I really, really despise this shaky creative unit for Crank: High Voltage that takes the trailer for the movie and extends the action into the rest of the browser window. So bullet holes show up on the screen and glass breaks and other effects like that come out of the trailer. It’s an interesting idea but it’s so cheesy in actual execution that it just comes off as silly.

Patrick Goldstein has a story about the unexpected success of Knowing at the box-office that includes quotes or opinions from three unnamed marketers, with the consensus being that people don’t go see Nicholas Cage movies but instead were attracted to it because the campaign made it seem similar to the National Treasure series. That’s a fair point, but I do agree with the one commenter who mentions it’s not the strongest case without the names of those marketers being public.

The under-construction W. hotel in Los Angeles is being built with movie publicity junkets in mind. The management is making a special appeal to studios by touting its space and facilities that they say are just perfect for hosting interviews with talent, with maleable space and extra electricity capabilites. The new hotel would compete primarily with The Four Seasons, which has the vast majority of the junket business.

Apparently the visitors to TheDailyPuppy.com were big fans of the site takeover executed by 20th Century Fox in support of the DVD release of Marley & Me. You’ve also probably seen 117 airings of the Purina commercial promoting the DVD.

If you buy at least five gallons of gas at BP stations you can go inside and get a game card promoting the Hannah Montana movie. The promotion will be supported with advertising and signage on gas station pumps that are sure to make kids waiting in the car want to head inside.

Barry Koltnow at the Orange Country Register stumbles on to the idea that the marketing campaigns for some downbeat movies often have a relentlessly upbeat tone. As examples he picks out the campaigns for Slumdog Millionaire and Marley & Me.

Franchise hell

Summer 2009 is loaded to the gills with franchises entries, sequels and a handful of movies that studios hope will turn into franchises. They’re stacked up one after another because everyone at the studio level is only concerned about the opening weekend, the focal point of the entire marketing push and the moment at which they take the biggest slice of the box-office.

That focus is being seen farther and farther out, as studios announce opening dates two or three years out for movies that aren’t even in pre-production yet.

Finding an Audience: Distribution Notes for 04/03/09

movie-ticket-and-popcornDVD

More studios are going to begin packaging standard DVDs with Blu-ray copies of movies in the hopes of moving more Blu-ray product and providing an incentive to buy that version. Disney has been and seems to continue to be a leading studio in offering those bundles.

That comes as sales numbers from the fourth quarter of 2008 show significant declines even while rental revenue for studios remains stable.

While Blockbuster struggles with debt and rumors it’s looking into bankruptcy, Redbox is installing some of its kiosks in Manhattan. Blockbuster itself saw a 4.4 percent rise in sales in 2008 Q4 even while the rental numbers at the chain continue to soften. That’s part of the reason the company’s CEO is negotiating through the press with studios and videogame makers for a better revenue sharing deal.

Redbox has also begun to worry the movie industry as a whole since it’s low-pricing and disturbing lack of focus on bonus features and things like that are eating into their profitability.

A sale at Target briefly shot some of the biggest releases from the end of 2008 to the top of the DVD sales charts at the beginning of March. All the titles listed were part of a $10 sale one week at the retailer.

20th Century Fox is creating a stripped down, movie-only version of a movie on DVD that will be specifically for rental, something they’re trying in an effort to encourage people to buy the fully-featured version. What they’d be better trying is selling the stripped down version for two-thirds the cost of the more extensive version so people who just want the movie and don’t care about games, featurettes and more can just buy the movie.

TV networks are seeing sales of DVD box-sets dry up and are beginning to panic. That panic has some cable networks like HBO experimenting with ways to let only subscribers watch their shows online for an additional fee and using proprietary software.

THEATRICAL DISTRIBUTION

New Yorker Films, a major distribution player in the world of foreign films, is shutting down, another victim of the shrinking market for unfamiliar fare as well as the fact that more of these sorts of films are available online or on-demand.

B-Side is launching a distribution arm that will handle theatrical releases.

ONLINE/ON-DEMAND

On-demand service Vudu is becoming the first such provider to offer HD copies of films to download-to-own instead of just rent.

Netflix is said to be on the verge of offering streaming-only subscription plans, something that’s probably going to be fairly popular in large part because of the wide variety of set-top boxes that the service is available through.

Cable provider RCN and online distribution channel Snagfilms have partnered to make Snag movies available to cable subscribers through on-demand, as well as through a widget on the RCN website. SnagFilms itself gets a nice write-up on The Wrap, including an interview with Rick Allen.

Set-top box maker has partnered with Amazon to make the retailer’s video-on-demand service available on those boxes.

Speedcine is your new favorite site on the internet. It’s a searchable listing of all the movies available for streaming – either free, for rental or behind a subscription wall – online. [via Anne Thompson]

The future of movie release patterns include a quick, if not instantaneous, debut on video-on-demand or elsewhere that people can watch it at home.

IMDb has a vision of every movie it lists in its database being viewable online, something that I respect for its ambition if not its immediate practicality. Along those lines they’re introducing a new category of “web only” to shows that exist solely online.

iTunes announced it will begin making movie downloads available in HD. The first offered titles are new releases like Punisher: War Zone, the latest Bond flick and others.

Hulu is expanding into more documentaries, launching a new section devoted to both long- and short-form non-fiction videos. The move is seen in part as one taken to strengthen ties with filmmakers and studios that could providee more content later down the road.

Robert Greenwald has had some success releasing his film Rethink Afghanistan on the web in multiple parts. The online distribution also allows him to update the film and add footage as he needs to or sees fit. Similar story for filmmaker Seth Caplan.

TiVo subscribers will soon be able to access Blockbuster’s entire OnDemand catalog as part of a deal that will also let Blockbuster locations sell TiVo boxes.

Jaman seems to be having troubles that are leading to layoffs that have it down to a skeleton staff and a seeming repurposed mission statement that appears to be vague at best.

With everyone trying a different business model depending on what they feel can work for them, production and distribution of online-only entertainment isn’t getting quite the fast-paced lift-off that some people thought it would.

Disney was first said to be talking to Hulu about bringing movies and TV content to that site before the buzz began to shift, eventually culminating in an announcement of it partnering with YouTube for the distribution of short-form clips.

Warner Bros.’ warnerarchive.org video-on-demand site has been so swamped with orders and activity they’re having trouble keeping up with demand. The interesting thing is that 140 out of the 150 titles initially available were requested to various levels within the first couple of days.

MOBILE/CONSOLE

Alltel, Samsung and Paramount Pictures are joining together to make the Mission: Impossible trilogy available on SDmicro cards that allow people to watch the movies on their mobile devices.