Hooray for Digital Hollywood!
As the Entertainment industry descended on Marina Del Rey for the Digital Hollywood festival, there were key points being raised time and again over the 4 days of seminars, panels, round tables and think tanks, all of which bode very well for anyone in the digital space.
With the panellists being esteemed industry execs offering insight into what the next 24 months holds for digital entertainment, there were a couple of core subjects that seemed to dominate both fact and opinion, and SupersonicAds was there to soak it all in and bathe in the glow of what should be a very fruitful next few years.
In fact, Hollywood currently only spends 5% of its marketing budget on digital but forecasts that to rise to 30% in the next 2 years due to some key factors and shifts in the market which are going to drive that growth – Native advertising and second screen social viewing.
As the digital media landscape matures and we move away from shotgun-blast display formats, studios are looking toward Native – but not as a new format. Indeed, native has been around for a long time in the press and now digital is starting to bring that to the new age. If ads are to be engaging and publishers demand not to run ads that alienate and annoy users, there has to be a synergistic approach between content and media delivery. The app world offers new opportunity for native content partnerships, and whilst the age old argument of incent vs. non-incent video delivery is still not going away. It’s still incent video that delivers the reach and “positive user experience” that non-incent cannot yet provide.
So whilst the movie industry looks at digital for big reach, it’s actually the TV networks that are showing high levels of creativity and have shown to really embrace the social aspects of digital and with very good reason.
Breaking Bad is the series that was dominating the summer viewing and anyone glancing at their newsfeed or twitter show what a success it was in popular culture, but what has come to light since the show has finished is that the finale had 3 times the views of previous episodes. These are not new viewers just watching one episode but the hard-to-quantify, catch-up viewers and the scarily large numbers of “cable cutters” that are viewing on their Apple TV or Roku device.
Audience measurement is the business end of entertainment and when it comes to justifying ad dollars, the audience is a currency in itself. As a result, Hollywood and television networks are putting big pressure on Nielsen and the traditional audience quantifiers to start getting smarter with the metrics and literally “get with the program” as current trends are so far beyond what they measure. Indeed studios don’t just want to measure reach anymore - now engagement is becoming a currency in its own right. 75% of all new shows aired last year across any network have twitter feeds and find fan engagement a key to their success. Entertainment brands now structure their production models with fan participation as paramount. Jim Cannella, Director of Marketing for The Grammys, says that 70% of his audience now interacts with two screens on two devices.
John Roberts, EVP Digital Strategy for Endemol, says that they are looking to build game shows exclusively for digital streaming on Hulu and Netflix. Now with these online exclusive “micro-budget” shows can feed the networks with successful show formats at low risk. SyFy/NBC Universal have taken it one step further and introduce pre-season content to audiences through digital on consoles and apps to introduce and educate their audience on each character before the shows airs on TV networks. Digital really is influencing old media like never before and even gaming is now considered not just a brand spin-off, but increasingly the bread winner of an entertainment franchise’s brand extension.
Games based on movies are set to exceed box office revenue this year. GTA made $1 billion dollars in 2 weeks – numbers that make studio execs start to position gaming as a core part of any revenue strategy. Chris Carvalho of Kabam still insists Facebook will be the “Kingmaker” in this space as they showed with Zynga and King. Today, the free-to-play market is worth $31 Billion dollars. It won’t be long before every studio and the networks start to “play the game.”
Since 1994, over forty thousand industry executives have attended Digital Hollywood in Los Angeles, New York, San Jose and in Las Vegas, including representatives of every major studio, technology company, cable, satellite and communications company, retailers as well as content developers and programmers for all entertainment industry medias and market segments