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InDemand Drives Awards Season Movie Buys with 'Contender Conversations,' March Madness-Style Oscar Brackets

It’s Hollywood awards season, which means InDemand is pushing hard for the cable industry with a multimedia campaign to drive subscribers to its array of Oscar-quality films, past and present.

This year, InDemand is featuring a series of interviews with a number of Tinseltown's top players and a touch of March Madness that is supporting a robust lineup encompassing more than 20 current Academy Award-nominated titles that are available via the industry’s Movies on Demand platform through March.

Historically, the first quarter is InDemand’s strongest with movies and the multi-pronged marketing campaign aims to deliver more than 40 million impressions to bring awareness to these titles and generate buys. Those efforts are being flanked by an Awards Season social media campaign adopted by CTAM, after being introduced by InDemand in 2010, as well as the studios’ own initiatives.

Whereas Movies On Demand deployed a sweepstakes as a key tactic in 2013, this year it’s looking to raise the profile of the films, including seven best picture nominees, and 150 former Academy-Award winning theatricals, via a partnership with IndieWire that has yielded exclusive interviews with Oscar hopefuls, which are also available free-on-demand via affiliates’ set-top boxes.

The news and information and networking site for independent films and a major Oscar prognosticator has constructed  an “Awards Season Spotlight” page that includes editorial, video and photography, along with MOD ads. 

As part of its IndieWire relationship, InDemand sent its production crews to shoot key interviews. “It started with Toronto [International Film Festival] and continued at AFI [American Film Institute] in Los Angeles. We caught up with Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) at the New York Film Festival,” said InDemand vice president of digital marketing Vincent Onorati. “We have 15 or so across a breadth of films.”

The “Contender Conversations” – interviews were also conducted with Nebraska star Bruce Dern, Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron and 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen, among others -- premiered on IndieWire’s “Awards Season Spotlight” page.

From there, geo-targeting drives users to customized landing pages InDemand created for its owners Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox at www.xfinityawardsseason.com, www.twcawardsseason.com and www.coxawardsseason.com, respectively, as well as its own microsite at www.modawardsseason.com. Additionally, the Awards Season social media campaign that CTAM is running on behalf of the industry also drives viewers to the latter site.

These are populated with branded Contender Conversations, carousels of current nominees and past winners key art, a Twitter feed, plus a branded Oscar pool offering.

Onorati said that with many people engaging with the Academy Awards version of March Madness with manually monitored brackets, InDemand wanted to make the process easier and teamed with Run Your Pool to develop automated custom versions.

“You can start a pool and get up to 50 of your friends or office colleagues involved for free,” he said, noting perhaps tongue in cheek that the Hollywood handicapping is strictly for entertainment purposes. “We expect the bulk of the leagues to start on Thursday, Friday" ahead of the March 2 Oscar telecast.

The brackets and myriad other elements are geared toward stoking business during this key MOD season. “The big films always do well,” said Onorati. “The smaller ones get a bump from the late push in this window.”

The Awards Season push also features cross-channel spots on cable systems; custom content from NowThisNews, dubbed “Back to the Future: Original Social Moments" that explore the most-talked about moments in Oscar history – prior to the Internet; and a combination of display ads and social media promoting the celebrity interviews and tune-in across IMDB, E! Online, Twitter and Facebook.

InDemand and its affiliates hope all of these initiatives pay off with on-demand buys for myriad Oscar-nominated films for this cycle, as well as great films from the Academy’s past.

Currently on or premiering on MOD in February are best picture-nominated titles: Gravity, Nebraska, Captain Phillips and Dallas Buyers Club, while March brings American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave.  Now playing or premiering this month are three of the best foreign language-nominated titles: The Hunt (Denmark), The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium) and The Great Beauty (Italy).  In addition, viewers can watch all the nominated best short films (live action and animated), on MOD through March 18 (see the list of 20 nominated films below).

Cable subscribers also can scroll over 150 iconic titles, as well as the FOD content, by looking in their on-demand channels for folders under the awards season, best picture, best actor, best actress, best director, best supporting actor and best supporting actress headings. These films may also be found in the A-Z listing or on systems’ library channel (see the partial list below).

NEW RELEASE 2014 NOMINEES ON MOVIES ON DEMAND

Dallas Buyers Club – Now Playing (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup & Hair)

Captain Phillips – Now Playing (Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing)

Despicable Me 2 – Now Playing (Best Animated Feature, Best Original Song)

Blue Jasmine – Now Playing (Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay)

All Is Lost – Now Playing (Best Sound Editing)

The Broken Circle Breakdown – Now Playing (Best Foreign Language Film – Belgium)

The Hunt - Now Playing (Best Foreign Language Film – Denmark)

Cutie and the Boxer – Now Playing (Best Documentary - Feature)

The Act of Killing – Now Playing (Best Documentary)

20 Feet From Stardom – Now Playing (Best Documentary)

The Grandmaster – Now Playing (Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design)

Prisoners – Now Playing (Best Cinematography)

GravityOn MOD starting Feb. 25 (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects)

Nebraska – On MOD starting Feb. 25 (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography)

The Great Beauty – On MOD starting Feb. 25 (Best Foreign Language Film – Italy)

Inside Llewyn Davis – On MOD starting Mar. 11 (Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing)

12 Years a Slave – On MOD starting Mar. 18 (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design)

American Hustle – On MOD starting Mar. 18 (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress,  Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design)

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – On MOD starting Mar. 18 (Best Original Song)

The Wolf of Wall Street – On MOD starting Mar. 25 (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay)

The Book Thief – On MOD starting Mar. 25 (Best Original Score)

Here is just a small sampling of the impressive winning titles viewers can experience:

Midnight Cowboy

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Brokeback Mountain

The Pianist

The Departed

Titanic

The Sting

American Beauty

Gladiator

The French Connection

Slumdog Millionaire

Annie Hall

Dances with Wolves

In the Heat of the Night

Platoon

Rain Man

The Silence of the Lambs

Chicago

Shakespeare in Love

Braveheart

Forrest Gump

The Godfather (Parts I and II)

Ordinary People

Terms of Endearment

Out of Africa

Schindler’s List

No Country for Old Men

Life Is Beautiful

Capote

Ray

Wall Street

Fargo

Casablanca

Moonstruck

The Blind Side

Goodfellas

Tootsie

A Beautiful Mind

Unforgiven