Movie ticket sales are down. Hollywood was at the center of a battle earlier this year against online pirates stealing films. The industry is trying to learn ways to use the Internet, rather than working against it, in order to stay afloat.
Before “Bachelorette,” a comedy starring Kirsten Dunst was released in theaters, it came out on iTunes. The movie premiered Aug. 10 on the platform, nearly one month before appearing on the big screen.
It was a hit, snagging the top spot on the iTunes Top Movies chart. It made over $500,000 in its first weekend on iTunes, nearly the same amount that “Moonrise Kingdom,” released in theaters first, received.
Between opening day of “The Hunger Games” in March of this year and May, the movie made $375 million in the United States, Reuters reported. A lot of its success has been attributed to a multi-faceted social media campaign the film’s marketers ran before it came out.
“To stoke interest among its target audience of under-30 moviegoers, the studio’s efforts included a channel on Google’s YouTube, a blog on Tumblr dedicated to the movie’s futuristic fashion, and a contest in which fans collected pieces to the film’s poster on several sites,” according to Reuters. “In all, the studio spent $45 million to market the film’s opening, according to people with knowledge of the expenditures.”
A studio survey found that 55 percent of the audience who saw the movie got most of their information about it on the internet.
Television networks are following suit, as more people, especially younger people, tune into shows online. With ever expanding YouTube channels and the growing popularity of online videos, personalizing and choosing content are crucial for people.
In August, Hulu premiered Mindy Kaling’s new show, ”The Mindy Project,” before FOX aired Sept. 25. “Ben and Kate,” another FOX show, was streamed on Facebook and Hulu before its premiere. NBC showed the pilots for “The New Normal” and “Revolution” on Hulu, Amazon Video, and iTunes to pump up anticipation for the official debuts.
Ed Carrasco of New Media Rockstars says that networks are embracing online for a few reasons.
“By putting the pilot episodes online, they can gauge whether their investment is worthwhile,” he says. “Networks can tell whether a show is doing well based on the unique visitors to the video and the activity that the comments page is attracting.” And producers of these shows can gauge “whether a show is fully promising or needs some adjustment” based on YouTube comments.
Carrasco also said this new method is “a sign of things to come” and applies to both the television and movie industries. More people, in general, are watching at home. Filmmakers and networks have to adjust and figure out ways to incorporate this into their marketing and release strategies.
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