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Ad Spending Trends in the Entertainment Industry

Advertising and the entertainment industry have a long history as partners. Whether it’s the movie studios promoting new releases like Ready Player One to TV viewers, or advertisers spending media dollars to air commercials before feature films, these two likeminded industries have a long history of collaboration, investment and innovation. As consumer viewing habits shift, the entertainment industry has needed to evolve its own approach as well. What types of advertising trends are likely to dominate entertainment industry spending in 2018? Here are three themes keep in mind.

Budgets will keep getting bigger
There’s no question that streaming video subscriptions are an increasingly important source of industry revenues – you only need to check out Netflix’s continued business success for proof. However, that’s not stopping movie studios from spending big to promote their most important theater releases. In fact, as movie audiences around the world increase their demand for blockbuster film content, it’s helping to keep film-focused TV ad spending front and center in promotional budgets. And it’s one reason why entertainment companies like Marvel keep increasing their spend for big releases. TV promotion for this spring’s “Avengers: Infinity War” release is expected to total over than $150 million, including ads from the studio as well as promotional tie-ins with top tier sponsors like Coca-Cola.

Targeting is getting more important
Shortly before his death in 2011, Steve Jobs urged the movie industry to build closer relationships with its customers. “What the studios need to do is start embracing the front end of the business,” he said, “to start knowing who their customers are, and to start building mechanisms to communicate with them, and tell them when their new product is coming out.” Many studios appear to have taken Jobs’ words to heart. More entertainment companies are starting to utilize insights gathered from consumers’ use of movie-themed mobile apps, in-house data collection and partnerships with advertisers to improve the accuracy of their media buying efforts. For example, a new type of movie ticketing app like Atom Tickets, helps studios gain more insight into consumer habits, enabling more precise targeting in TV and video campaign strategies.

Studios push the envelope with new ad formats
Younger consumers have long been an important target audience for movie studios. But as media habits continue to evolve, this has also put pressure on studios to adapt, forcing them to continuously seek out cutting-edge media buying opportunities to reach these ever-elusive consumers. One example of this is studios’ growing interest in emerging ad formats like augmented reality and in more youth-skewing ad platforms like Snapchat. These two trends came together not too long ago in a promotional push from Sony Pictures for the DVD and Blu-Ray release of its film “Jumanji.” The company offered Snapchat users special “Snapcodes” on movie packaging. Users who scanned the codes using the Snapchat app unlocked a special “Snapchat 3D World Lens” that turned the user’s real-life environment into a digital jungle viewable through their mobile device. These kinds of interactive media opportunities often make great complements to video and TV buys.

There’s no question the entertainment industry is evolving. Whether it’s the growing popularity of streaming video services like Netflix, or new ways to watch TV content via “over the top” services, consumers have more options than ever before. All this change is also playing a growing role in how today’s movie and TV content is promoted, with movie studios looking for ever-more innovative and accurate methods to reach consumers wherever, and whenever, they choose to watch. It’s a moment of immense change for the entertainment industry and of immense opportunity as well.