Mar 13, 2018

By Kara Cutruzzula
Enabling studios to build TV campaigns around audience insights and moviegoer behavior.

Uncharted Territory is a series dedicated to spotlighting the people who use science and technology to design the future of TV. 

When the Oscar® nominations were announced in January, The Shape of Water had reached a domestic box office of about $23 million—or about $17 million less than the amount a studio pays to market mid-sized movies. While critical darlings aren’t typically the most lucrative films, the box office receipts of this award season’s Best Picture winner highlights why it’s so important for studio marketers to reach receptive moviegoers.

Typically, most of the marketing budget is front-loaded, timed to support awareness around a film’s opening weekend. But in light of shifting audience behaviors, reaching viewers who are most interested in a film and most likely to see it in theaters is increasingly valuable. That need is the impetus behind a new partnership between the marketing data analytics firm Movio and Vantage, Viacom’s advanced audience targeting platform. Together, the alliance promises to help film advertisers discover and reach the best movie-going audiences across Viacom’s networks.

Rather than harnessing broad-stroke demographic data like “young males” or “millennials,” this partnership makes it possible to build target audiences based on movie preference or audience trends thanks to Movio’s comprehensive database, which now has 750 million behavioral and transactional records across thousands of films watched by millions of viewers. It includes movie title-level data on online and offline transactions. This data helps advertisers understand what moviegoers have watched in the past while predicting what they might do in the future.

Using Movio’s moviegoer database, Vantage will be able to create highly customized marketing campaigns that can target moviegoers across Viacom’s digital, social, and television platforms.

“You are now building a profile of a person through the history of their filmgoing, and you’re understanding what they’ve done over the years, and those trends that are starting to evolve in moviegoers,” says Will Palmer, chief executive of Movio. “You can take advantage of those trends by accurately getting that right message to the right person at the right time.”

"You want to be able to search for those occasional and infrequent [moviegoers] that have a likelihood or a desire to see your movie that you haven’t been able to traditionally reach."

Studio advertisers can home in on infrequent or occasional moviegoers who are crucial for box office success. “You don’t want to double down on the frequent moviegoers, the ones that are going to turn up to the movie anyway. You want to be able to search for those occasional and infrequent [moviegoers] that have a likelihood or a desire to see your movie that you haven’t been able to traditionally reach,” says Craig Jones, chief commercial officer of Movio.

Movio also discovered behavioral patterns that show how audience attendance evolves throughout a film’s theatrical run, and these data sets allow marketers to pivot their campaigns. “Once you know what the pattern is, you can set up your entire media plan to make sure you can take full advantage of the media dollars you’ve got,” says Palmer.

Consider last summer’s hit horror film It. On opening weekend, the audience was heavily male, but one month later, it skewed more female, while the average age of the moviegoer also increased over the run.

“Vantage can take these insights,” says Bryson Gordon, executive vice president of advanced advertising at Viacom, “to find the exact set of ad units across linear television, addressable, digital, and social that are going to maximize the ability for that studio marketer to reach the precise audience that is going to help make the movie successful.”

To learn more about Viacom’s advanced advertising solutions, including Vantage, click here.

For more about Movio’s capabilities and read case studies, click here.