Film Promotion Challenges In The Digital World
Updated: Jan 20
The competition and challenges of film launches are only set to become more difficult over the coming years with the ongoing expansion of services like Netflix, Amazon, HBO, etc. Despite this pressure, movie production is growing and there is a fantastic array of new content entering the market each year. The range of stories and storytelling only seem to be getting better and better.
We embarked on analysing the status quo and breaking down what steps distributors, filmmakers, producers and entertainment content producers in general can take to cut through the noise in trying to bring their content in front of the relevant audiences. The final result is Winning Your Audiences. Movie Marketing in the Connected World- an ebook filled with case studies and actionable insights driven from our activity at Gruvi. The entire ebook is available to download for free on our website:
The internet and digital technologies are in the process of massively disrupting the movie industry. The distributors’ traditional role as gatekeepers is being challenged more today than it ever has been in the past. At the same time, a medium flooded by content is in great need of trustworthy curators.
Christine Eloy is the Managing Director of Europa Distribution - an association of European producers that focuses on supporting the industry in these tough times through workshops, conferences, as well as lobbying and information dissemination. We talked about the challenges faced by the sector and the discussion promptly turned to the known culprits: too much competition in the cinema, strong competition from outside of the cinema, the difficulties in navigating the always changing online medium. In Europe, as expected, these issue also take an institutional dimension. While there are more EU programs than ever dedicated to distribution support, Christine decried a lack of connection between policy makers and the industry. A good example of this are the initiatives such as the Digital Single Market, which are attempting to review and rewrite copyright laws within the Eurozone (we discussed in more detail some of the proposed measures here).
EFFT 16: Fireside chat with Jörgen Gren, Phil Clapp, Ville Heijari, and Milissa Douponce
All of these factors force the industry into a survival mindset, but there is still plenty of hope and, along with the pressures, there are plenty of new opportunities for intrepid companies to look into. We will explore the available solutions on a theoretical level first.
In the second part of the book we will take a deep dive into case studies, strategies and processes that can aid indie distributors in their mission to reach and engage online audiences.
We have seen in this chapter the various pitfalls that face indie movies, but it mustn’t all be gloom and doom. The same factors that have created these threats and challenges can be exploited as opportunities. In order to achieve this, disruption must be accepted and tackled with a focus on the end goal, rather than the process of achieving it. Film distributors want audiences to pay for seeing movies- whether in the form of cinema tickets, renting, watching on VOD etc. They have more methods than ever before at their disposal to achieve that.
Being different is the very currency of indies but the adherence to mainstream ideas of success is already posing a major threat to their future. So the key to successfully ride the movie industry disruption wave is to accept that gains are obtained over a longer period of time and focus should be on long tail economics.
It’s easy to say that the number of independent movies that ‘make it’ has decreased in the last 2 decades. But what defines them as independent films? And what defines ‘making it’? Some films produced independently are made on a shoestring budget, with a cast and crew of friends. For some of them, breaking out means having an audience beyond friends and family. For others the ambition is to be selected in festivals and build awareness and credibility for the director.
While the methods and strategies we suggest in this paper can be applied for all movies, our focus is on films that are made as both an artistic and a financial investment. They are films that are made with an expectation for a multinational (if not international) audience.