Movies on Demand: Breaking Through

As cable’s Movies on Demand integratedmarketing campaign completes its sophomore year amidst the implosion of brick and mortar rental stores and competition from streaming, mail and vending machine services, it’s apropos that we take stock of its accomplishments.

It all began with studios and cable companies coming together in an unprecedented partnership in 2010. The goal was to build awareness of cable’s Movies on Demand category with consumers who might not know the robust platform was as an option for in-home entertainment.

That was just the beginning. This year, the goals were expanded from awareness to driving buys, particularly among new and light users.

Frank N. Magid Associates reported that 81% of survey respondents said they enjoyed the convenience of Movies on Demand and nearly two-thirds said it was a good value for the money. But considering that in the first half of 2011, eight of the top 10 performing Movies on Demand were released the same day as DVD (Rentrak, July 25), that’s no real surprise. In fact, in 2010, 60% of all titles with more than $1 million in domestic box office revenue came to cable the same day as the DVD.

Our campaign is grounded in TV ads; we’re promoting 68 titles from the 10 participating studios. Plus, we’ve gotten smarter about how we reach customers using social media, having achieved tens of thousands of “likes” on Then, there are the regular radio and print features, blogger engagement and breakthrough digital media, like and the just-launched Movies on Demand “List It” app.

In this app, users who “like us” are able to create and share their Top 5 MOD lists in various categories with their friends on Facebook. Inspired by a new MOD release every week, each new list entry is automatically entered for a chance to win daily prizes, including $5 in Cable Cash good toward an MOD rental, and a grand prize of a 46-inch 3DTV. If users have trouble deciding on their lists, the app includes critics like Leonard Maltin to help them along.

As we head into the home stretch of the 2011 campaign , I’m most encouraged by the numbers. Recent Rentrak set-top data shows that, among heavy, medium and light users, the segment impacted the most by cable’s Movies on Demand campaign is light users. Prior to the campaign, light users spent, on average, $6.41 per set-top-box on MOD. The latest numbers say they spent $8.92. New users spent $10.33.

If each company was working separately, we’re convinced we could not achieve these results. But together we’re breaking through.

Char Beales is CEO of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing.