The rise of CTV and streaming shifts the movie marketing paradigm

Curious to know what an “innovative” movie marketing campaign looked like in 2015?

Promotion of the film “Southpaw,” released that year, used purchase data from movie theaters, revealing the 85% of active moviegoers purchased their tickets on site. Using this data in conjunction with their known online sales data, they targeted frequent moviegoers with advertising for their movie. Francois Martin, then executive vice president of marketing & TV sales for The Weinstein Company, the company that produced the film, called this newfound ability a "real game-changer.”

It's been seven years since that campaign, and data-driven marketing has exploded—just as Martin keenly predicted back in 2015: “I think the amount of data that movie marketers have at their disposal is only going to get better, more detailed. We'll be able pinpoint ticket buyers in a more granular way, on a title-by-title basis.”

Right Martin was. The amount of data the movie marketing industry is working with today goes far beyond just knowing who purchases tickets on site. This data comes from not just better digital customer identity resolution across publisher websites, but even more so from the rise of streaming services and connected TV (CTV), a measureable channel that is part of a cross-channel, digital campaign with path-to-purchase capabilities.

“Just as streaming lowers the friction for audiences, it can also make it easier for studios and distributors to get more relevant content and advertising in front of the right audiences,” writes Deloitte. “Typically, digital services can generate much more data about engagement than theaters can provide, such as data based on content interests, demographics, and location.”

New data strategies allows movie marketers to target their audience better than ever before, shifting the movie marketing paradigm to a much more personalized approach.

Targeting moviegoers

Of course, movies are no longer just coming out in theaters. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people were treated to just-released films in the comfort of their own homes. And according to a recent Morning Consult survey conducted earlier this year, three in five consumers say they prefer to watch movies at home via streaming services—which is twice the share that said they would rather go to the theater.

One way movie marketers can work with this is to understand the data across streaming services and on-site purchases and determine who, on an individual level, is most likely to want to go to a theater and who is most likely to stay in.

This individual-level targeting is crucial for the future of movie marketing, says Andy Aylesworth, professor of marketing at Bentley University.

“Maybe there’s a group of consumers out there who really values the communal aspect of being in a theater,” Aylesworth said. “If they like that, then movie marketers can find that group of people and advertise to them. Using data, they can find those people.”

This type of individual-level message serving allows movie marketers to speak to various preferences across their audience base. 

You can see the granularity Epsilon prioritizes in its data segments:

  • Online Movie Goers
    These are individuals who have purchased movie tickets online
  • Movie Enthusiasts
    Historical browsing behavior based on individuals who have viewed movie related content over the last 30 days
  • Frequent Online Movie Viewers
    Individuals who are likely to stream movies online on a frequent basis

Seeing customers an on individual level

It’s paramount that movie marketers see their customers on an individual level instead of the old segmented approach; we have much more device and account fragmentation, which can lead to poor targeting without the right identity resolution capabilities.

If you’re only doing batch-and-blast movie marketing, as in the old movie marketing paradigm, you’re not taking advantage of our new data capabilities, and therefore wasting precious ad dollars in an era in which every moviegoers’ preferences are vastly unique. And with the 2022 Academy Award Best Picture winner, "Coda," being a streaming movie (from Apple TV+), we'll only see this trend continue to grow.

For more information on this individual-level identity resolution, check out Epsilon’s digital media solutions.