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Movio View: Data & The Digital Marketing Revolution

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To kick off 2019, we sat down with our Chief Commercial Officer, Craig Jones, to pick his brain on the role of data in digital marketing campaigns to moviegoers. As the driving force behind our film studio offering, Movio Media, Craig is surrounded by success stories on a daily basis that prove just how important data is becoming for Hollywood studios. In this blog post, he addresses the evolution of data in the theatrical marketing space and how it is monumentally changing the digital landscape.

Our Chief Executive recently shared his thoughts on how digital will impact the film industry in 2019. How do you expect digital marketing to evolve this year?

Movie marketers now understand the importance and value of data in supporting theatrical marketing campaigns, particularly when it comes to digital. I strongly believe the ability to reach movie audiences across digital channels, based on actual moviegoer behavior, as opposed to targeting broad demographic groups (i.e males aged 18-39) or genre, will move beyond the experimental phase to standard industry practice by studio marketers in 2019. One of our clients, STX Films, saw ticket conversions increase on average 2.8 times across a slate of titles, by fully embracing this approach.

Studios now have the ability to ‘close the loop’ and determine whether or not someone who was exposed to a digital advertisement actually purchased a ticket to the associated movie, which was not possible before Movio Media.  Not only will this highlight how effective marketing investment decisions are, but it will also provide actionable insights for future campaigns. I imagine that studio marketing leaders will require this level of proven effectiveness more and more over the coming year, and Movio will be at the forefront of driving this opportunity. 
 
I also expect data protection and privacy to become an increasingly dominant theme amongst advertisers, technology companies and consumers - not only in the EU, but globally. I see this as being a non-negotiable for digital marketing in 2019.  Maintaining the integrity and security of the data entrusted to Movio is our number one business priority, and is an area we continue to invest heavily in across every market in which we operate. 

How will Movio’s data and insights help studios?

Since launching Movio Media in the US three years ago, we have seen the role of data evolve significantly within our studio clients. Last year, it was inspiring to see Movio’s data and products used across our clients to inform greenlighting decisions, allocate media investment, track sentiment, identify potential audiences, reach moviegoers across direct email, digital and TV media channels, measure marketing effectiveness, and survey the reaction of audiences. 
 
We have recently established a dedicated film studio research and analytics team in Los Angeles, led by our Chief Data Scientist, Dr Bryan Smith. This team, made up of data scientists, statisticians and analysts, will be working directly with all of our studio partners to help them use Movio’s data, audience models and products to generate actionable insights to support strategic decision making 

What Movio innovations are you most excited for this year?

Last year, we launched our moviegoer propensity product – effectively a Netflix-style recommendation engine specifically designed for the film industry – to our cinema exhibition partners. This builds on Movio’s existing abilities to target consumers based on real-time moviegoer behavior and ticket-purchase data and puts it into overdrive. Leveraging collaborative filters and deep learning, we can classify every moviegoer within our database based on their likelihood to attend a particular film. I’m incredibly excited to bring this to our studio clients in 2019, as early results have shown that this approach to reaching audiences drives a significant increase in ticket conversions.
 
We are also close to announcing an incredibly exciting partnership, which will provide studios and their agencies with the ability leverage Movio data to reach audiences across social and digital media channels, faster than ever before.  

Do you expect there to be a shift in the allocation of media budgets, from traditional to measurable digital channels?

Traditionally, Hollywood studios have spent a disproportionate amount of their media budget on television advertising in comparison to other industries. However, over the last two to three years we have started to see a greater shift towards digital, particularly with some of the smaller studios who are looking to maximize their limited marketing dollars. 

This shift will continue to accelerate in 2019, as studios acquire the ability to leverage actionable moviegoer data to not only reach their potential audience across digital and social media channels, but to also measure the effectiveness of their media investment based on actual ticket purchase data. Television will maintain an important role in advertising to moviegoers, however, we’ll see programmers and MVPDs rapidly adopt the same data-driven marketing principles within their advertising products that we’ve seen in digital.

Which movies are you most looking forward to this year?

It's set to be a big year for film franchises across the board, with titles like Zombieland 2, Kingsman 3, John Wick 3: Parabellum, and of course, Star Wars Episode 9. I’m particularly looking forward to the Jumanji sequel and IT Chapter 2. Both studios did an incredible job of remaking these classics, with highly innovative and engaging digital marketing campaigns. I can’t wait to see where they take things this time around.

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