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And, action! Ahead of the Christmas blockbuster season, we delve into how movie studios and streaming services are utilising the power of OOH to get consumers engaged with their content.
The entertainment industry continues to evolve. Following the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, Disney and Apple have entered the OTT (over-the-top media) market, however this does not appear to have dented the desire for Hollywood blockbusters – global cinema revenues are set to rise 15% in 2019 and are forecast to show an annual growth rate of 10.5% over the coming years.

Clearly, there is a substantial desire for content, but competition between studios is fierce and standing out from the crowd and selling a movie or TV show to an audience can require nearly as much creativity as producing the media itself.  It’s because of this that many advertisers turn to Out-of-Home (OOH), as the medium is proven to deliver huge reach at a rapid rate, during a narrow window for promotional activity.

“Are you not entertained?” 1 : Innovating to stand out at release 

OOH engages audiences when they are active, and this makes it a great environment for one-off activations that capture people’s imaginations, create buzz online and ultimately drive consumers to view the media. Universal Pictures did just that to promote the Jurassic World franchise in 2015 and 2018. For the release of the first film in the rebooted series in the UK, Universal dominated Waterloo Station, which included an immersion zone, use of digital and static media and even life-size, growling Velociraptors.  This was followed up for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom with an event that included an 11-metre long, roaring T-Rex floating down the Thames before settling at King’s Cross Station which also boasted further experiential opportunities, an Augmented Reality (AR) adventure and a total station domination.  

Further executions took place in Rome, Shanghai and Santiago, all of which generated huge buzz on social channels and helped contribute to a strong box office performance of over $1.3 billion worldwide, making it the 14th highest-grossing film of all time.

“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” 2 : Malls & movie buffs 

With Christmas just around the corner, malls will be heaving with consumers, and for movie studios and distributors, OOH represents a fantastic opportunity to target film buffs and get them into cinemas, especially with 94% of 18-34-year-olds using leisure or food service facilities when visiting shopping centres.
Despite the ‘digital natives’ tag, this is especially true of Gen Z, who enjoy visiting brick-and-mortar stores and believe it to be a better experience than online – around 95% visited a physical shopping centre in a three-month period in 2018.

“I’ll be back” 3 : Brand building for a longer-term impact

While movie studios are of course looking for big returns at the box office, there is also an awareness that the profit margin on DVD/Blu-ray sales, or licensing the film to TV/OTT channels, is significantly higher than the theatrical release.  As such, it’s important that studios build a ‘brand’ for a film to take advantage of this – and the same principle applies for streaming services around their content. Many subscription services appreciate the fame and brand building capabilities of OOH that are crucial for long-term profitability and growth,  and their investment in the medium reflects this, with Netflix even investing in a billboard company themselves.  

“This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” 4 : Media in sync

OOH is regularly used by movie studios, TV networks and streaming services for theatrical and home entertainment releases and maintaining momentum during DVD/Blu-ray sales and licencing periods. The core strength of the medium as a brand builder and its ability to engage audiences through innovative activations ensure that what we’ve got here is failure to communicate successful communication.5


1Quote from Gladiator, 2000
2 Quote from The Godfather, 1972
3 Quote from The Terminator, 1984
4 Quote from Casablanca, 1942
5 Quote from Cool Hand Luke, 1967

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Published in For brands, about #industry insight, #entertainment and film