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Things that are on the verge of making me want to punch a kitten:

  • Augmented Reality – Unless you can explain it to me in a way that doesn’t make it sound like an “upload your photo” tool in reverse I’m going to think you’re full of it.
  • JK’s Wedding Video or whatever it’s called – Some guy creates a memory that he’s going to look back on in five years and realize he’s so ashamed of he’s unable to talk about it to his children and I’m supposed to learn valuable marketing lessons from it? Really? With a straight face you’re telling me that?
  • Personal branding – I have a reputation. I don’t need a brand. Thanks anyway.
  • Beer summit – Oh wow. The President used the same tactic guys have been using since the invention of beer and we’re supposed to think this is news? Would have been better if, like half such resolution sessions, they’d had so much to drink that it wound up in a fist fight.

Marketing Madness in 60 Seconds: 7/31/09

static5Advertising/Marketing

The upfronts are finally beginning to move forward and the networks are finally starting to log some sales. It’s not like commercial time is flying off the shelf though, and the take for networks might be in the $1 – $1.5 billion range, down from over $9 billion last year – even though they’re not conceding as much on pricing as buyers were initially asking them to. Networks have still, though, only booked 25 percent of their inventory and the Fall season is only two months away. Declines in CPM rates have not been as great as buyers were hoping for but still more than the networks were angling for.

I actually don’t think the call by some publishers to do away with ad networks is about anything other than them wanting to stop blogging from being profitable, thereby eliminating the new media competition they see biting their heels.

Spending on word-of-mouth marketing efforts reached $1.5 billion last year according to PQ Media and is expected to grow over 10 percent this year. In-game ads also continue to grow.

The next big thing in the marketing industry is the connecting of consumer’s offline behavior with what they do online. All of this is over and above, of course, what people are voluntarily sharing about themselves on social networks and blogs.

Media

The AP thinks its copyright infringement anytime there’s a link and a headline to its content, whether that means in a blog post or simply the results of a Google search. Rex Hammock points out why this argument is completely insane on a number of levels and Danny Sullivan realizes that, by this definition, the use of Google by AP employees means they themselves are engaging in blatantly violating copyright.

The idea of “nichepapers” makes a lot of sense, but mostly because that’s exactly what the blogs have been doing for years now. This model also kind of necessitates an aggregation system, either in the form of an RSS reader or something that looks very much like a newspaper, collecting the niche content in one place for people to sort through.

Social Media

NewsGator is shutting down their free, online RSS reader and recommending people switch over to Google Reader, making it easy for people to sync with that product. I used to use NewsGator and am disappointed to see it go since there were a lot of things about it people used, including its integration with Microsoft Outlook and such.

Finding an Audience: Distribution Notes for 7/31/09

movie-ticket-and-popcornTheatrical

The debate continues as to whether 3D exhibition is still building steam or is leveling off as measured by per-screen takes and such.

Home Video

Studios used the Comic-Con get-together to try and drum up interest in their upcoming home video releases, an effort to staunch the bleeding that’s been going on in that category in terms of consumer spending.

CinemaNow is launching a new service that puts a movie – including the necessary video player software – on a USB drive.

Jimminy Christopher…RedBox is being called by someone the home video equivalent of the cheap second run theaters that – and I’m not sure the person quoted is aware of this – used to be all over the place but now are being squeezed out by shrinking home video windows. It’s a distribution point but lets not go nuts over this.

Paramount is plowing ahead with a terrible, terrible idea, that of staggering home video releases. Beginning in September with their Dance Flick release, the movie will be available for sale on Blu-ray but the standard DVD will only be available for rental. The Blu-ray is a packed special edition but the DVD just has the movie. The DVD will go on sale eight weeks later but it’s not clear if it will be the bare-bones edition or have bonus features. I remain convinced that offering DVDs with just the movie – and at a reduced price point – is the key to wringing a bit more money out of the format since that’s all people are getting when they buy a digital download and that’s a category that’s growing.

Online/On-Demand

Seems some movies that are available through Starz Play are being blocked from the XBox Live Dashboard, though it remains to be seen if this is intentional or just a technical SNAFU.

Epix, the new movie channel from Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate, has its first distributor agreement but it’s not on cable TV, it’s on the Verizon FiOS subscriber network. There’s talk of tiers being offered in terms of how much of the programming can be accessed based on what package people have and it may eventually be expanded to Verizon’s V Cast mobile service.

A handful of movies managed by Cinetic Rights Management are now available on Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” service, including the very funny Melvin Goes to Dinner.

According to Pew’s recent study of online behavior, 35 percent of internet users have watched a movie or TV show online in the last year, over twice as many as had reported doing so (16 percent) in 2007.

Picking up the Spare: The Hangover, Transformers

bowling-pinsThe Hangover

Tucked into a story about how entertainment and lifestyle sites are weathering the advertising downturn alright – and sometimes even growing – is a bit about how “what’s cool” filter Thrillist ran a campaign for The Hangover that culminated in a New York City party (cause that’s what Thrillist does) with over 1,000 people attending that featured a look at an extended trailer.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Paramount worked with mobile platform operator ChaCha that had ads for the Transformers sequel included in the text responses sent to the system’s users when they asked a question. The campaign, according to ChaCha, increased the movie’s audience awareness by 27 percent and drove significant traffic to the movie’s mobile site

In response to the movie IDW is launching the first on-going Transformers comic title the franchise has had in years.

Quick Takes: 7/31/09

filmstripAn effort by 20th Century Fox to get some “viral” chatter for I Love You, Beth Cooper has backfired. They paid a high school valedictorian to end her speech with a declaration of love for a classmate in much the same way the movie portrays, an attempt to show how the movie has inspired kids to go out on a limb. The deal with the student was actually struck by a buzz marketing firm working with the studio and has resulted in the high school were the incident took place are plenty honked off that they hosted an ad for a movie. A video of the speech, filmed by the agency and then placed on YouTube, has gone nowhere and the movie tanked.

Karina points to an example of marketing an independent movie in the right way and an example of doing it the wrong way, both of which I’m in complete agreement with her on.

The Ombudsman for The Washington Post responds to reader criticism of how listings for showtimes at area AMC Theaters no longer appear in the paper. The removal of the listings was AMC’s decision, not the paper’s, and according to a company spokesperson was based on wanting to allocate those dollars elsewhere, partly because people are getting their movie time information online more and more and not from print pubs.

This practice has been in use for a couple of years now but has been picking up steam of late, that of using subtitles with colons for sequels instead of numbers. Some movies like The Dark Knight have completely different titles than the original, but the basic idea behind both tactics is that they present a more original image to the audience instead of appearing to be a retread.

More commentary on the study that shows product placement within successful films leads a boost in share prices for those brands, something that’s going to mean more of that particular tactic being implemented.

Interpublic has found a new head and a new name for its branded entertainment unit, tapping a former AdAge and Entertainment Weekly editor to lead its newly re-branded Ensemble division.

There’s no shortage of guns and implied violence in the ads and other marketing materials for this summer’s movies, including those that are aimed at kids.

Kevin Dugan passed along word to me about a promotion for The Ugly Truth that had celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton passing on a “Sponsored Tweet” that prompted people to follow and interact with the Twitter account set up for the movie. Below are screenshots of 1) The @TheUglyTruth account before Hilton’s promotional tweet (make sure you note the Followers), 2) One of Hilton’s tweets and 3) The movie account after (see the bump in Followers).

tracking twitterpromo ugly truthNew Picture (2)New Picture (3)