To draw in TV viewers who don't buy movies on-demand,
cooperative marketing efforts by operators and studios are extending into Walgreens,
Target and even onto Pizza Hut box tops, with some success, marketing
executives said Monday.
"Once you get people over the barrier of trying, they're in
and are satisfied with the product," Stacie Gray, chief creative officer at In
Demand, the cable-owned VOD distributor, said during a breakfast panel at the
Ten cable operators and eight movie studios in a consortium
supported by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing have
been working for about three years on a Movies On Demand on cable campaign. It
began mostly with on-air messaging (and, crucially, the creation of a national
MOD logo) but has extended into new marketing avenues that wouldn't have been
possible without the national reach the consortium enabled, Gray said.
Hence the Pizza Hut connection, which will see MOD titles
promoted on 7 million Pizza Hut boxes in the fourth quarter, she said. "It's a
natural fit, pizza and a movie," Gray said.
Stacy Melle, vice president of marketing at NBCUniversal
Content Distribution, secured some Walgreens and Target shoppers through
another natural fit: the movie Bridesmaids,
girls' night-in parties and Yellow Tail wine.
A promotion had Yellow Tail hang a Bridesmaids label on the bottle's neck, inviting buyers to download
recipes for Yellow Tail-based cocktails (or "winetails"), she said.
"It was really a great marriage of two brands," Melle said.
"It extends our message into an environment that is unexpected," she added.
Operator efforts to bring in VOD "nevers" include an
experiment by Rogers Cable in Canada that lets viewers buy a bundle of three
episodes of a premium series, say from season one of Californication, for $3.99 or more recent shows for $4.99, senior
director of sports and on-demand services Anthony Antonelli said. Rogers has
about 20 series in that program now, rising to a hoped-for 150 by early next
year, he said.
Giving viewers a chance to buy "catch-up" episodes at that
price point could be a chance to bring "lapsed" VOD buyers, Antonelli said.
Mediacom Communications marketing senior VP David McNaughton
said operators need to keep innovating on VOD because it's a differentiator
with satellite TV. Beyond the transactional revenue that can be earned from
movie buys, use of free VOD can keep cable subscribers from churning, he said.
To get viewers to sample more free-VOD views of Fox
broadcast hits like New Girl and Glee, Fox Networks has tried offering
select episodes introduced by cast members, featuring behind-scenes commentary,
senior VP of distribution marketing Jamia Bigalow said. Fox also bought digital
billboards in Los Angeles and elsewhere to promote VOD views around the time of
the fall premieres, she said.
Another successful MOD tactic has been when Universal
promoted movies available 28 days before Redbox and Netflix premieres, Melle
said. There is evidence that tactic has increased buy rates, she said, and she
recommended other studios deploy that windowing and marketing tactic. The
breakfast session, which also featured a keynote interview with UFC president
Dana White, was put on by Multichannel
News and Broadcasting & Cable.