Content is king maker in the world of movies

Box office hits such as Skyfall and Taken 2 and much loved classics present brands with a new and timely route to engage customers with movies. With the decline of traditional high street video retailers coupled with the uptake of new internet-based technologies there is an unprecedented opportunity for brands to fill the gap vacated by physical sales and drive digital consumption in its place.

It has long been said that content is king. In this new digital world, content has also become the king maker. This is never truer than with premium movies where the content can always have cut through. Backed by mega production budgets and marketing spend to match, movies arguably are the most premium of premium content.

Key to this success is that consistently movies have shown that the public are willing to pay for them in a world where many have grown up thinking most content is free. The silver screen has a universal appeal that continues to endure the world over regardless of socio-economic, demographic and geographic boundaries. Add to this on-demand services that have enabled the viewer to choose when, where and how to watch their content and you have a potent weapon in the marketing professional’s armoury.

Through the penetration of broadband and uptake in connected devices, brands now have the opportunity to fashion content to reach the customer segment they want to target and engage based on a deep understanding of film viewing behaviours. From teenagers’ right through to the grey market, movie content is very adaptable and can work to drive almost anything from footfall, subscriptions, loyalty and even reduce churn.

Broadcasters were once the key aggregators of content. Movies were shown on TV and broadcasters were the ones that benefitted. Now brands have a legitimate right to play directly in this space, whether that is by opening an online movie-on-demand rental service such as EE Film, starting a pop-up video platform to support a product launch or offering a selection of targeted movies to customers as part of a loyalty programme. There are a number of ways brands can benefit and engage their customers. Get it right and customers will inevitably go back to the environment where they most enjoy consuming content, resulting in regular interaction with a brand.

Perhaps what makes film content so unique is that it is subject to intense periods of promotion for a short time to generate huge awareness around the theatrical release, and then again for its launch on DVD and Blu-ray. Just take the premiere of Skyfall at the Albert Hall that attracted the eyes of the world for a star studded bash.

Brands can tie themselves into huge film benefits from these dramatic blips in promotion and the resulting halo effect. The sum of their spend can be millions of dollars greater than the individual parts to the consumer.

Helping to fuel the growth and awareness in digital movie consumption has been the arrival and subsequent battles of online subscription-based movie services. At the same time, we’ve seen an exponential increase in consumption in all our windows and we at FilmFlex have recently eclipsed 80 million movie buys since our inception in 2007 as more people choose digital rather than physical copies.

This trend of greater digital consumption is set to continue as is the opportunity for canny brands to star in best supporting or even leading role.

 Jeff Henry is chief executive of movies-on-demand company FilmFlex Movies.