At the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles last week, Lionsgate’s CEO, Jon Feltheimer responded to a question with the statement that studios will likely be spending less on television ads and more on digital promotion in the future. Whether that full shift takes place in a few years or a decade, I don’t know. But the shift has certainly begun to happen – even if it is just on an extremely small-scale. The reference Feltheimer made stemmed from his conversation about the marketing for THE HUNGER GAMES – where they spent a modest $45 Million and focused heavily on social media due to its core audience. The Chicago Tribune article covering the conference conversation leaves readers with a general feeling that the shift from TV to social has begun and is universal. Unfortunately, that ideology will lead marketers into a trap as the run to one way strategy of doing things doesn’t really make sense.
Focusing on Lionsgate’s research that found that 55% of the moviegoers got “the majority of the information about their movie” online and Feltheimer’s deeming, “That made me think that the paradigm is changing even faster than we thought,” misses some of the point.
If the film did not do so well, I am sure that percentage would have been actually higher. As the core audience is a huge digital native group, I am sure most of them got their information online or on mobile. But, movies don’t become as huge a success as THE HUNGER GAMES on that young demo alone. They had to draw huge numbers from people outside of that group in order to generate the huge receipts. That larger group of people actually brought the average of digital information majority gatherers down.
Taking that into account, the same marketing mix would absolutely not work across all titles as a general rule of thumb. We need to be wary of jumping into that one size fits all mentality because it could become a devastating financial loss. There is absolute opportunity for studios to refine and optimize their spends AND reach with the right bit of strategy prior to planning.
So, will social – or just digital in general – overtake spending on TV by studios? Maybe, but probably not for quite a while. If you see a horde of people moving in that direction, make sure it still fits with your smart strategy.