Archive for September, 2006

Miramax to Increase Focus on Marketing Partnerships with Disney Divisions

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

Miramax Logo
Miramax is getting serious about forging marketing campaigns and promotional partnerships with other Walt Disney Company divisions, according to Variety.

To kick off the move, Miramax Executive V.P. of Business Affairs Michael Luisi has been given an expanded role that will put him in charge of developing partnerships with Disney divisions such as ESPN, ABC and Hyperion. While Miramax has conducted these sorts of promotional activities in the recent past, the move signifies an attempt to systematize these activities, to improve Miramax’s brand recognition, and to better integrate Miramax into the company as a whole. The move also mirrors Disney’s move towards greater divisional symbiosis. The best example has been their recent success with the ‘Pirates’ franchise, which began as a theme park ride and has led to increased park attendance and merchandise sales.

Miramax has grossed a little over $17 million year to date on six releases, down drastically from the division’s peak of $427 million in 2001. The sharp decline in revenue reflects the division’s shift in focus from larger budgeted tentpole productions under the Weinsteins to a mix of lower-budgeted independent fare and foreign acquisitions.

Bollywood Embraces Online Movie Marketing

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

With the burgeoning growth on India’s online population, Bollywood movie marketers are ramping up their online marketing efforts, according to The Hindu Business Line.

According to the article, over 38.5 million Indians have Internet access, and although broadband penetration is in its early stages, over 1.5 million homes already have high-speed access. There are also an estimated 20 million Indians living abroad who are interested in keeping up with the latest Bollywood productions.

Indian film marketers have noted that young, tech-oriented professionals with disposable income are highly likely to use the web to discover movies to see in theaters:

Says Rajnish R., Head - Digital Marketing Revenue and Strategic Business, MSN India: "People who use the Internet are twice likely to go watch movies in multiplexes (than those who do not). Indians abroad go online to read movie reviews before they book a ticket or buy the DVD. So, the adoption of online media is attractive to new-age producers, who themselves are Net-savvy."

Online promotions on large portals such as MSN India typically cost between 800,000 and one million rupees ($17-25K dollars). Promotions on Indiafm, Bollywood's #1 movie portal vary from 50,000 to 1.2 million rupees ($1100 -$26,100) depending on the targeted regions and audience.

Individual film sites are also become more common, and traffic has been booming – Hungama, a top online promotions company for Bollywood, noted that some of their larger sites attract up to 12 million page views a month. Online interactive contests are also becoming popular, and are now sporting major corporate sponsors.

The migration to more sophisticated online marketing methods mirror’s Bollywood’s increasing marketing savvy in other channels. Recent calls for more integrated marketing have increased lately, even culminating in top talent calling for the emulation of Hollywood-style marketing.

The Indian film industry sold more than 3.8 billion tickets in 2005, grossing over $1.14 billion dollars, according to a recent article on Bloomberg. By comparison, Hollywood grossed nearly $9 billion dollars during the same calendar year.

Fox Launches Second Demographically-targeted Specialty Division with FoxFaith

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

FoxFaith Logo
News Corp.'s Fox Filmed Entertainment today announced plans to target the Christian audience with the formal launch of the FoxFaith Home Enertainment Division.

FoxFaith will acquire up to twelve films a year, with a minimum of six theatrical releases a year under partnerships with AMC Theatres and Carmike Cinemas. The label will target evangelical Christians, a group whose beliefs have traditionally been at odds with secular Hollywood fare (including some of the racier content seen on Fox's broadcast network). The label has also partnered with the Dove Foundation, a non-profit that offers seals of approval to qualifying films free of offensive content.

Productions will be based on bestselling Christian fiction and will have production budgets under $5 million. Recent updates indicate they will be acquisitions, and not studio productions Additionally, the films will receive marketing support nearly equal to the production budgets, a significant figure for marketing low-budget films. This will complement Fox’s already hefty grassroots database of 90,000 congregations and 14 million evangelical households.

As we reported here over a year ago, FoxFaith has been making major inroads into the Christian marketplace in the DVD arena. Since the launch of the FoxFaith initiative last June, Fox has shipped over 30 million faith-based DVDs. As the DVD distributor for ‘Passion of the Christ,’ fox has sold an impressive 15 million units and established a considerable competitive advantage in marketing to the Christian community.

Another interesting element to this announcement: As opposed to the rest of Hollywood’s alignment of their theatrical and home video divisions along genre lines (Foreign, American Independent, Horror, etc.), Fox is throwing that paradigm out the window by aligning them along demographic lines, first with Fox Atomic, and now FoxFaith. It’s doesn't seem like much of a stretch to imagine a FoxAsian or FoxWomen specialty unit. After all, this model has been put to the test via specialty cable networks for several decades, but the web has given the model even more promise. With the lower cost of marketing to a known cohort, the centralization of these communities in online social networks, and the ease of building up reusable grassroots databases over time, Fox may have discovered a winning formula for combating the fracturing of the mass audience. The Weinsteins Company has placed a bet on this model as well with Our Stories Films, a specialty studio catering to the African-American audience.

AOL RED Announces Exclusive “Direct-to-download” Horror Film Release

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

AOL red logo
Today AOL announced that they will release the horror film 'Incubus' as a "direct-to-download" exclusive on AOL RED, a teen-centric entertainment site.

Starring Tara Reid, the feature-length film follows a group of six teens attempting to escape from a government paranormal research lab. AOL plans to sell downloads for 7.99 or five day rentals for $3.49. Purchasers can begin watching the stream as it downloads. The film will be available for download beginning on October 31st, and AOL will have a 30 day exclusive window before the DVD hits stores. AOL plans to promote the release with a user-generated content contest where fans can submit homemade horror shorts. No specifics on prizing was mentioned.

At first glance, this looks like a creative way to build buzz for both AOL RED (who heard of it before today, anyway?) and the DVD's release. However, given the fact that the target audience spends more time online than watching television, this little promotion may have stumbled on a new window. If they're successful, that is…

Movie Ads in the Wild: New York City Edition

Monday, September 18th, 2006

In running a website about marketing, sometimes we forget that the online space is not the center of the marketing universe. After all, the online marketing budget for most films amounts to only 10-15% of the total marketing spend. Now granted, that number is rising every day, and you do get more bang for your online marketing buck, but other forms of advertising -- namely print, television and outdoor -- are still the single biggest percentage of the movie marketing spend.

In recognition of that fact, Movie Marketing Update is starting a new feature called "Movie Ads in the Wild." Several times a month we're going to show you what marketers are doing on the street, in theater lobbies, on billboards, and in the local newspapers. This week's installment comes to you from New York City -- more specifically, Park Avenue between 17th and 23rd streets in Midtown, with a little dash of Queens to boot.

CARU Asks Disney to Stop Advertising ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ to Kids

Monday, September 18th, 2006

According to Broadcasting & Cable Magazine, the Children's Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has asked Disney to stop marketing the PG-13 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' to children on Nickelodeon.

A self-regulating arm of the ad industry, CARU made a formal complaint about ads that ran in tandem with the film's theatrical release in June, three months after they had aired. Disney responded by saying they had no plans on rerunning the ads, and stated that they had relied on Nickelodeon's clearance department to ensure proper ad placement.

CARU frowns on advertising PG-13 films to children under 12 because the MPAA rating indicates the presence of content that "may be unsuitable." However, as the B&C notes, 'Pirates of the Caribbean' toys, games, food and a whole bevy of other licensed products are heavily marketed to children despite the film's rating.

It will be interesting to see how close and timely CARU's scrutiny will be when Disney launches the third installment of the franchise next year, and what changes Disney will make regarding ad buys on younger-skewing channels. As reported for Q3 2006, the Disney Consumer Products division’s income rose 70% over the previous year to $105 million, much of which was due to sales of Pirates-themed merchandise.

New Movie Marketing Collateral – Monday 9/18

Monday, September 18th, 2006

In an effort to keep you abreast of the latest trailers, clips, posters, ads, websites and more, we're kicking-off a daily round-up of new movie marketing collateral releases. To get your collateral mentioned send an email to

New Movie Trailers and Preview Clips:

'For Your Consideration' - Three new preview clips at Risky Biz Blog

'The Invisible' - New Trailer posted to MySpace

'Saw III' - Updated trailer at Yahoo! Movies

'Flyboys' - Exclusive Character clips at Coming Soon

New Movie Banner Ads:

'Casino Royale' -- New Flash leaderboard ad on

'Fearless' -- New Flash leaderboard ad on

Other Collateral and Ads of Note:

Heavy 'Jesus Camp' PPC ad placement on liberal blogs, to include Google video ads. Here's an example of a text ad (scroll to the end of the article.) Looks like they also did a banner buy on the same site.

Big Blogads buy for 'The Ground Truth' across liberal blogs -- see an example at Dailykos. Also note the 'Jesus Camp' ad.

Wal-Mart Accelerating Digital Movie Download Efforts

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Wal-Mart LogoAccording to recent reports on, Wal-Mart is ramping up its movie download service efforts amidst the recent launch of Amazon and Apple’s services.

The single largest seller of DVDs in the world, Wal-Mart accounts for upwards of 40 percent of all DVD sales, mainly from highly popular new releases from the studios. The article speculates that the move is part of Wal-Mart’s effort to maintain this dominance.

Sony Pictures Signs Promotional Deal with Heineken for ‘Casino Royale’

Friday, September 15th, 2006

heineken.gifAccording to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony Pictures Entertainment has signed a six-figure promotional partnership with The Netherlands-based Heineken Brewing Company to showcase the company's product in the upcoming James Bond action thriller 'Casino Royale.'

Promotional activities will include heavy product placement in the film, to include scenes with new James Bond actor Daniel Craig drinking the beer. While the on-screen placements seem to counter the "shaken not stirred" vodka martini image usually seen in Bond flicks, it may work well with the new tougher, "man's-man" approach the producers are taking with the Bond character. Plans are also in the works for a special tie-in commercial starring Bond girl Eva Green, which will be directed by Oscar-winner Stephen Gaghan ('Syriana,' 'Traffic'), who will have access to the actual production sets for the ad.

No word yet as to how this new beer-swilling, Bond will sit with fans, but the initial backlash to Craig's casting seems to be cooling. On the promotional side, the number of official partners has been cut back significantly from 2002's 'Die Another Day,' which was criticized for going over the top with irrevelant tie-ins. Smirnoff will remain the offical vodka for this installment, will produce a custom commercial, hold an on-pack promotion tied in with the film's release.

The James Bond franchise has grossed nearly $1.3 Billon dollars domestically since the release of 'Dr. No' in 1963, according to Box Office Mojo. 'Casino Royale' hits theaters November 17th.

MySpace and Fox Partner to Launch the ‘Black Carpet Screening Series’

Friday, September 15th, 2006

MySpace Logo
This morning, MySpace and Twentieth Century Fox announced the launch of the Black Carpet Screening Series, which will enable MySpace registered users a chance to see early previews of films before they hit theaters. The move is the biggest studio social networking promotion to date, and also marks MySpace’s first foray into a worldwide exclusive event.

The first advance screening will kickoff on September 20th, which will showcase 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,' a full two weeks ahead of the film’s November 3rd premiere. Members in Canada, Germany, the U.K., Ireland and 20 U.S. cities will have a chance to attend local screening events. Users will have to add the Black Carpet profile to their friends list, as well as the film they are interested in seeing, and they will then receive bulletins with details on cities and showtimes.

This looks like an exceptionally smart move by Fox to harness the viral effect of social networks. In effect, it is a brilliant marriage of the proven word of mouth Generating capability of advance screenings to MySpace’s 40 million member social network, and this move will enable the positive word of mouth to spread faster than face-to-face contact. It will be interesting to see which films they choose beyond ‘Borat;’ After all, we have seen how much of a double-edged sword instant word-of-mouth can be.

Nonetheless, this move furthers the synergy between MySpace and News Corp., and looks like a broadening of the studio’s recent efforts to court the youth market with the launch of their Fox Atomic label. It will be interesting to see if further synergies between MySpace and Fox Atomic develop, and also how the other studios will react.