Hollywood is not spending nearly enough to promote its movies online.
That is the main conclusion of a new study by MarketCast, a market research firm servicing the global entertainment industry.
The study, titled “The Internet and Moviegoing: A Benchmark Study on Influences and Opportunities,” was funded by Google and prepared in conjunction with the Motion Picture Association of America and Variety magazine. It was conducted in July and August and its conclusions were based on a survey of approximately 2,100 moviegoers 13- to 49-years-old, reached via telephone and the Internet.
Approximately one-third of respondents were classified as “moviegoing infoseekers” who used the Internet to research a movie before deciding to go see it. The remaining two-thirds were classified as “traditional” moviegoers, says David Fleck, industry marketing manager for media and entertainment at Google.
According to the study, television advertising, trailers and word-of-mouth were the most important sources of “first awareness” of a movie by a potential customer.” But in the time between first awareness and a movie ticket purchase, MarketCast found that the Internet plays a crucial role in helping people decide which movie to see.
Internet sources — search engines, general portals, entertainment Web sites, specific movie sites and ticketing sites — were the most influential media for more than one third of Infoseekers when they were deciding which movie to see. Less than half of Infoseekers cited television as the most influential medium in their purchase decisions. By comparison, among Traditional moviegoers, seven percent cited the Internet as the most influential medium and 70 percent cited television.
MarketCast also found that Infoseekers are four times as likely as Traditional moviegoers to get their first awareness of a movie from the Internet (16 percent versus four percent). Moreover, Infoseekers are one third less likely than Traditional moviegoers to get their first awareness of a movie via television (32 percent versus 48 percent), the study showed.
But while the study showed that the Internet was the most influential driver of movie ticket purchases for 17 percent of all respondents, movie companies spend only 2.6 percent of their marketing budgets online, Fleck says.
“Years ago marketers viewed the [Internet] medium itself as the experiment. Now they realize the experiment is the marketing mix” of online, print and TV, Fleck says.
The optimal media mix remains to be figured out, Fleck concedes. Yet, at least for the Internet’s best portion of a marketing budget, he adds, “I think it’s safe to say it is north of 2.6 percent.”