Finding Creative New Ways to Go to the Movies

Girl of the Dragon TattooAs I was scanning through the Golden Globes Awards the other day, I thought about how much of the new release movie experience hasn't changed.

While everything else — how we view what we view and soon how we talk with friends while viewing — is quite different than only a few short years ago.

When it comes to both promotion of movie titles and seeking out new revenue opportunities, there are many new technologies and platforms available.

For example, part of the success for the original series The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was due to a blog hunt.

Results for the blog hunt, listed among the outreach efforts were:

  • The movie official site launched with a 3.8 million Alexa rank, dropped to 400K in 3 weeks (at 250K in 8 weeks, at 194K in 10 weeks) — through exposure provided by 11 very diverse blogs. 
  • During the contest, 500 people completed the contest, reading all 11 blog posts.

All this and the experience itself has not changed much. You go buy tickets online or at the theater, walk by the high-calorie snacks that could feed an army for weeks big counter, and into a small, either very crowded with people munching and shifting noisily or rather empty and dirty room.

However high tech and budget the movie, the context in which you view it when it comes out is at best passable. What a let down.

One great way of creating interactivity and excitement is by active participation with friends and family and by selecting where you want to have your viewing experience.

The trouble is, given what's at stake and the risk-averse nature of the movie industry, all potential opportunities regarding how to best leverage the high stakes investment in a new title lead to one roadmap: a controlled theater release with a big marketing spend, if you're that kind of movie.

Go into a packed theater filled with chewing people or have a few friends over and watch something else are not the only two options for entertainment. There are literally dozens of things you could do.

Let's face it, with digitally connected generations of people artificial scarcity leads to a frustrating experience in addition to being a business model on its reluctant way out. I'm thinking about the comment by Erik Schwartz, first up on the thread:

By staggering windows the effective shelf life of attention is extended. The scarce resource is viewers time.

If the marketing push for a film last 2 weeks across all channels and you have no time to see the movie in the two week time frame you might never see it.

But if you miss the theatrical release, you will catch it on PPV, if you miss it on PPV you might catch it on DVD, if you miss it on DVD you might catch it on HBO, if you miss it on HBO you might catch it on free TV.

Each of these releases comes with a marketing push (mostly paid for by the channel partner). Each marketing push is another chance to grab your attention.

Indeed, your attention (and time) is what is scarce. Will studios be able to time-shift your attention for much longer? What happens when the new release bombs and the studios are still bound to the physical ecosystem of how they do things?

A challenge for marketers: find new creative ways to go to the movies

What if there were so many advantages to a new movie release in multiple formats, including home viewing, that the studios could rethink how they trade the model and combine assets differently?

Where could we start? Distribution is cheap and not key anymore as we said last week about the Louis C.K. self-publishing meme. However, it's a powerful network and we would not want to upset it, lest they stop working with us (the studios).

What is high value? Aside from time windows to distribute marketing dollars and deals already cut (point 2 in the comment at Fred Wilson's blog by Peter Kaufman, and Eli Seidman on distribution channel, and here's an insider's view).

How do you get attention so everyone talks about a title and people want to see it? We have an example in this post with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

We're used to integration in our world. And we know how to play with complementary elements in a program. It's 2012 and we're also thinking like publishers, so we understand the value of content producers.


Every industry is in need of reinvention. This is a great time of opportunity for marketers to step up to the plate and get creative to help businesses integrate new ways to trade assets. There isn't one business that can rest of its laurels today.

Don't sit this one out when you can start testing execution ideas.

How would you help the movie industry help itself? For the sake of taking our entertainment in our own hands, what are some creative new ways we would implement to "go to the movies"?


  • you have the quality movie and want to break through the clutter of many options
  • people don't like to make too many choices
  • you have a small budget for doing something new because the big dollars still go to maintaining relationships with distribution
  • first three commenters get to add one assumption each

Let's make it fun.


PressPausePlay from House of Radon on Vimeo.

PressPausePlay from House of Radon on Vimeo.

[hat tip]

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