Social media has transformed how people and businesses communicate. With billions of pieces of content being added to the world wide web every year it can be very difficult for people to identify what is relevant and interesting to them. In this article I am emphasizing the potentially huge role of social media in the entertainment industry, specifically cinema.
The first article I was looking at has been written by Mark Banham, who approached the subject of social media and cinema by talking to leading players in cinema about how brands and their agencies raise up to the potential of social media. As we all know, the format of movie advertising is slowly changing, and distributors like Warner Bros reach their audience via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, where they freely advertise and promote their movies. For example, the “Likes” recorded on the Harry Potter page reached up to 29 million during the run up to unveiling of the last film in the series. In the week before the July premiere the Harry Potter Facebook page gained nearly 100,000 Facebook friends per day. Unfortunately,many advertisers have been missing out on great opportunities created by crowdsourcing tools, what has created an emerging gap between social media and film releases.
Charlie Yeates, associate director at MediaCom and head of cinema said:
“To try and get people to talk about your brands in association with films [through social networking] … I’ve hardly seen anyone do it, but the amount of people in social networks talking about films is absolutely massive. … It’s very difficult for outside brands to get in on these conversations like they would normally on Facebook and Twitter, without a doubt”.
How then social media impacts on TV and Film ratings?
Kay M. Madati, head of entertainment and media and global marketing solutions at Facebook, discussed this and the effect of social media on entertainment at Mashable’s Media Summit. She told Mashable reporter Zoe Fox that social media is critical for content producers to tap into the power of friends and the influence they have on each other, for example via Facebook which allows people to share their thoughts on a new piece of entertainment. In addition to word of mouth, social media is conducive to innovative, eye-catching campaigns that keep viewers interested through the show’s airing. For example; Madati said that Argo have maintained the audience base over the past few weeks, due to the word of mouth drawing people to it week by week through social media.
Contrasting with usage of social networks by film brands, I would like to talk about Social Media Film Festival, which this year took place in Mirage hotel in Las Vegas. The Social Media Film Festival is an international film festival with films about social media, social change and technology. The Social Media Film Festival envisions thought-provoking smaller budget films, show how we use technology to communicate. As technology is ever-changing, artists, filmmakers and individuals connect with each other in business and their personal lives via social media.
So what is the future for social media influence in film industry? According to social media guru Brian Solis, Social media is more than a digital water cooler for TV and movies, where via global conversation people share their experiences, what teaches us about consumer preferences. More importantly, their activity influences behaviour, which in marketing counts for everything. The Hollywood Reporter recently published an exclusive poll about social media led by market research firm Penn Schoen Berland. According to the study, 88% of respondents view social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as a new form of entertainment. The report found that 79% of connected television viewers visit Facebook while watching TV. Additionally, 83% surf the web while viewing TV and 41% tweet about the show they’re watching.
Digital Influence proves that it can change behaviour. For example, those who Tweet about movies actually influence the behavior of those who follow them; viewers have become participants in real-time experiences; many are also becoming critics by simply sharing their thoughts online. The study found that 72% of respondents post about movies on social networks after watching a film. The study found that even through social networking is playing a significant role in movie watching and shared experiences, traditional marketing is still king in how consumers make movie going decisions.
Looking at some examples in the above case study, we could observe that the role of social media is growing in everyday lives, but it seems to be still emerging to industries like film and entertainment. Thankfully, due to the high volume of market and social usage, businesses are starting to realise the potential role social media can play or even should play in their marketing strategies. Promotion via social media is inevitable, and even though it seems that word-of-mouth is the best way of advertising and raising awareness, it is important that the entertainment sector really joins the conversation and shares their stories on social media via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc.