Variety of Entertainment Marketing Summit Focuses on the Future

The mantra that the pandemic has accelerated existing trends is evident throughout the Hollywood landscape.

VarietyDeloitte’s Virtual Entertainment Marketing Summit, presented by Deloitte on April 22, will analyze some of these trends. The most obvious is that moviegoers have been pushed to watch at home. Other changes during this period include the higher churn of subscribers and the price sensitivity of video broadcasters; a migration to virtual consumer engagement when COVID-19 hampered face-to-face contact; digital media are giving birth to a new breed of talent that is redefining the concept of celebrity; and a spike in video games.

When it comes to video streaming services, “we’re seeing significantly higher churn rates than before COVID,” said Kevin Westcott, vice president and U.S. leader of technology, media and telecommunications at Deloitte.

The 15th Annual Digital Media Trends Survey from Deloitte Technology, Media & Telecommunications, which detected an increase in subscriber disconnection rates, also brought good news. Consumers simultaneously subscribe to other services, indicating that they are on the move and are not completely dropping out.

“But this year, and only this year, cost has become the primary deciding factor,” says Westcott. This bodes well for video streaming supported by advertisers with no cash or low monthly fee. Given the high unemployment rate amid the pandemic, the increasing price sensitivity is no surprise, and Deloitte adds that another strength is consumers are trying to moderate overall spending while holding multiple entertainment subscriptions. .

The pandemic has put the kibosh on the massive fan gatherings that populate the event calendars of Hollywood marketers. This void, says Pamela Lifford, president of Global Brand and Experiences at WarnerMedia, “puts innovation at the forefront of how you can interact with your fans.” In response, WarnerMedia launched its own DC FanDome virtual events. Going in-house actually offers advantages, Lifford adds, over events organized by third parties. This is because aficionados can be connected to a wider range of the business.

Elsewhere, the phenomenon of digital influencers has transformed in the pandemic greenhouse. Online celebrities who previously cultivated audiences simply to endorse third-party brands have become increasingly mainstream, notes Nick Tran, head of global marketing at TikTok. He quotes the arc of “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” which evolved from the origins of crowdsourcing to a full production with the blessing of Disney which raised $ 1 million to benefit the Actors Fund. The production even received a Drama League Award nomination.

“We didn’t just have traditional singers and people from Broadway, we brought the TikTok artist community into the production that started the trend,” Tran notes. Strangers whose creations are causing a sensation on TikTok are increasingly entering the mainstream Hollywood, he adds.

New media brands have also been born into the video streaming revolution, such as the launch of Paramount Plus as a replacement for CBS All Access. “Starting with our Super Bowl campaign, our goal was to communicate that our brand is confident, down to earth and self-aware, with an approachable tone that doesn’t take itself too seriously,” says Domenic. DiMeglio, Executive Vice President, Head of Operations and Chief Marketing Officer at Paramount Plus. “Our consumer marketing campaign took on a distinct tone: fun and irreverent.”

It is understood that the key to successful marketing is identifying the interests of individual consumers in cyberspace to enable relevant content to be delivered. For the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, Jennifer Storms, director of sports and entertainment marketing for NBCUniversal, said her company’s database encompasses tens of millions of consumers to “understand, long before the Games, preferences. consumers regarding Olympic sports and athletes ”. ongoing online conversations.

Serving up relevant messages is crucial for the Olympics, which cram a plethora of diverse sports in just 17 days, says Storms.

The company’s customer database has been built over the years as consumers have logged into past Olympics, various NBCU sports offerings, sweepstakes, and corporate websites.

In an effort to understand consumers and the market, some entertainment marketers are building their own digital marketing infrastructure, a trend predating the pandemic.

For example, over the course of seven years, Discovery has been gradually expanding its subscriber acquisition and development marketing efforts internally, creating its own marketing data operation that enables Discovery to understand consumers, model campaigns and to react quickly to market changes.

“The key is to put granular information into the model, and then machine learning takes the underlying models to generate optimizations and projections,” says Seth Goren, group senior vice president, media strategy, Discovery. “We have a complete picture of every medium we plan, buy, and schedule on a daily basis and its impact on outcomes that matter to us, such as the start of the free trial.”

What surprises await you? Deloitte’s latest digital media trends survey found video games to be the most popular entertainment

category during the pandemic for Generation Z consumers: 14-24 years old. TV and movie consumption, which is the favorite entertainment category for other generations, ranked just 5th in Gen Z. Westcott says it remains to be seen whether that spike is sustainable.

Two prizes will also be awarded at the Marketing Summit: the winners are below.

Variety Social Impact Marketing Award for Film, “Sound of Metal”
Christian Davin
Global Head of Film Marketing, Amazon Studios

“Sound of Metal” details a drummer (played by Riz Ahmed) who is struggling with his hearing loss, and the moment they saw him at Toronto International Airport 2019. Film Festival, Davin says he ‘he knew Amazon was the perfect distributor. “As a hotbed of talent, we personalize the output of each movie, run tailor-made campaigns and do what’s best for that specific movie. Plus, we felt it was one of Riz Ahmed’s best performances of his career, and we knew it had the potential to resonate with the critics and become an awards season contender.

They were right; the film went on to earn six Oscar names, including Best Picture. Davin says director / co-writer Darius Marder and Ahmed have worked closely with the Deaf community, and that has extended to marketing and release. “During the theatrical launch of the film, we made sure that all theatrical screenings of the film were captioned to ensure accessibility for all. Additionally, we approached all social and audiovisual creatives with a similar goal and have done our best to create and distribute material that could be consumed by listeners and deaf / hard of hearing in a way that is accessible to them. All panels, screenings and questions and answers were properly captioned and / or had an ASL interpreter so that they were accessible to all audiences. “

They organized a virtual panel on Deaf Representation as part of the AFI Fest and organized screenings for Deaf organizations at national and regional levels. They also released a drummer music video covering a version of ‘Enter Sandman’ with its launch on Prime, and asked Paul Raci – the Oscar-nominated film’s supporting actor and child of deaf parents – to sign the song all while. throughout the video.

Davin credits all the actors in the film with their collaboration: Marder, actors Ahmed, Raci, Olivia Cooke, Chelsea Lee, Shaheem Sanchez, Nicolas Becker, Mikkel EG Nielsen, Jeremy Lee Stone, Sacha Ben Harroche, Bert Hamenlinck and Lauren Ridloff. “Additional external partners, Hilari Scarl and Storm Smith, who were the campaign’s deaf consultants, were also a vital part of our team.”
It also recognizes Vincent Scordino, Don Wilcox, Marlee Chizari and Chris Tumbler (marketing) from Amazon, Molly Albright and Nathan Powell (creative), Leanne Hunt, Sara Del Negro and Elizabeth Dills (PR), Erin La Rosa (social), Sharon Boddie and Javier DiMirez (media), Mark Boxer, Annalisa Shoemaker and Brian Flanagan (cast), Debra Birnbaum, Brooke Ford, Ki-Ting Kolar and Alison Lee (award).

Variety Social Impact Marketing Award for TV, “Lovecraft Country”
Mitchell sound system
Senior Vice President, Program Marketing, HBO
Jackie Gagne
Senior Vice President, Multicultural Marketing, WarnerMedia
HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” caused a stir last year when it told a story that combines real-world horrors with supernatural horrors. Creator Misha Green adapted Matt Ruff’s novel, which is set in the 1950s in the Separated South. From the start, the show was well received by critics and audiences alike, earning WGA, SAG and Golden Globe names. “We understood that this series would require a very thoughtful approach,” says Gagne. “We wanted to make sure we created a campaign focused on the black community, given the themes and nuances of the show. We started by hiring the Blerd [Black nerd] community and those who are passionate about telling black stories and have worked our way from there.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made their job even more difficult.

“We collectively had to rethink our overall launch strategy and figure out pretty quickly how to effectively move everything to a virtual / digital world,” Mitchell says. “And we did – we had a digital projection event that still managed to create a common viewing experience and we launched an ambitious VR experience called Sanctum, where we invited people to travel in a whole new place and in a whole new dimension. With Sanctum, we hosted three separate events that evoked all of the show’s themes and incorporated talent and were ultimately a celebration of black art, thought, and joy.

“Lovecraft Country” also won praise for bringing real-life issues to the fore by incorporating things like Sunset Towns and the Tulsa Massacre in 1921. “It’s a huge privilege and a responsibility. to portray those moments of culture, ”says Gagne. “There is a lot of pain and trauma resuscitated in an already troubling time, but it’s important for people to see the stories and contextualize the lives of black people in this country. It is essential to tell the whole story. “

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