June 28, 2011  |  Beverly Hills, CA
Published: June 29, 2011
Cutting-edge case studies in entertainment marketing

The entertainment industry is often the first to dip its toe into the latest and greatest digital marketing opportunities. Consider these real-life emerging media lessons.

At this week's iMedia Entertainment Summit, a handful of industry thought leaders presented a diverse collection of short case studies in emerging technologies, spanning best practices in online video, metrics, augmented reality, social media, and more. Consider these takeaway lessons from each.

Disney/ABC Digital Media: Innovation with online video and tablets
People are consuming video like never before -- on television, online, and from mobile devices. And don't forget the "second screen," said Karin Timpone, SVP of product strategy and marketing, digital media, at Disney/ABC Television Group. "The majority of tablet and smartphone users are using these devices while watching TV," Timpone said.

So, how can marketers and broadcasters tap into this relatively new viewer behavior? Timpone presented two innovative examples from Disney/ABC Television Group:

"Grey's Anatomy" sync app: This iPad app syncs with the TV show while a viewer is watching. Based on the episode, the app launches interactive content during show. Viewers can take quizzes, answer polls, earn badges, see what other fans are saying, and unlock bonus content.

Oscar Backstage Pass: During the Academy Awards, the Oscar Backstage Pass gave viewers customizable online backstage experiences that were not limited by platform. On the red carpet, viewers could access vantage points from 32 live cameras and control 360-degree views of the event. During the awards show and after, viewers could access bonus content from backstage cameras, including thank-you cams and feeds from the VIP room.

Multi-screen: One metric to rule them all
Video consumption habits are increasingly crossing different media, from TV and the internet to mobile. That's an amazing opportunity for marketers. But it also poses a significant challenge, noted Anant Mathur, SVP and director of analytics at Starcom MediaVest Group. After all, how do you measure these complex interactions and gauge return on investment for each media type?

ComScore is currently looking to answer that billion-dollar question. The company is in the process of establishing a 25,000 member opt-in, cross-platform consumer research panel that will address the need to provide single-source, multi-screen information to the media industry.

Joan FitzGerald, VP of television sales and business development for comScore, said the new initiative is already yielding actionable insights. In presenting a case study from an entertainment brand, FitzGerald noted that the impact of multiple media has certainly proven to be greater than the impact of each on its own. In that sense, one plus one equals more than two. In addition, she said comScore has found that it is possible to quantify media equivalencies in terms of, for example, the number of banner ads that are equal to a TV impression.

Mobile's next best thing: Augmented reality
Mobile technology is on the cusp of catapulting augmented reality (AR) to a new level of acceptance, said Scott Wellwood, VP of business development and strategic alliances at Total Immersion. Today, virtually any mobile device with a camera can transform an online or offline experience to an AR experience.

Wellwood discussed the following three areas where AR will continue to enhance digital as a promotional vehicle:

Discovery. Augmented reality can enable people to point their mobile devices at a billboard and immediately access an interactive experience. 

Social engagement. Taking discovery a step further, marketers can drive people to certain places at certain times, with the promise that they will be able to access a special experience through their mobile devices on site. Such interactive experiences are infinitely shareable via social media.

Enhancement. AR technology offers personalized experiences to viewers as they consume other media, such as a TV show. Think of it as bonus disc-two type content.

History Channel goes 360
The History Channel wanted to make the debut of "America The Story of Us" the biggest and most essential cable viewing event in history, said Adam Davis, associate director of digital services at Horizon Media. Thus, it knew it had to reach outside its standard television promotions to tap into a new audience via new platforms. To accomplish this, Davis and his team looked to create a 360-degree campaign spanning online, gaming, mobile, and more.

The campaign rolled out in three phases, Davis said. First, marketing efforts focused on early education by seeding promotions through relevant channels, placing a particular emphasis on video. Then, the campaign sought to create multi-platform awareness through section roadblocks across multiple media platforms. Finally, broad reach was achieved through deep social and editorial integrations.

Every piece of creative in the campaign was tagged. Ultimately, the results proved that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts, Davis said. Those exposed to both TV and online components demonstrated the strongest connections and tune-in rates among all groups.

Smart posters for X-Men: First Class
Interactive movie posters have come a long way, noted Dougal Strachan, digital marketing director at 20th Century Fox International. Since the mid 1990s, the concept has evolved from posters featuring URLs, to short codes, to Bluetooth, to QR codes. Now, movie posters are tapping into near-field communications (NFC) technology, which enables the transfer of data from a poster to a mobile device, no software required.

For "X-Men: First Class," 20th Century Fox International tuned into NFC as a promotional vehicle. When people tapped their mobile devices to a poster, they were able to access the movie trailer, which then opened the door to further engagements and future contact with consumers via social media and their mobile devices.

Strachan noted that this layer of interactivity is exciting because of its simplicity and the opportunity for scale.

Lori Luechtefeld is senior editor of iMedia Connection.

On Twitter? Follow Luechtefeld at @loriluechtefeld. Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.