New York -- The evolving on-demand platform means increased opportunities for stunting and other program promotions, said the speakers here at the On Demand Summit panel, "Marketing & Promotions Roundtable: Attracting Viewers."
While Discovery stunt staple "Shark Week" occupies a week on the linear channel, there exist myriad opportunities on other platforms, according to Bella Metcalf, vice president of marketing at new products, digital distribution at Discovery. That may include original Spanish-language content. “We try to find new opportunities for our [MVPD] partners to engage their subscribers,” said Metcalf.
Comcast’s own week-long stunt, Watchathon, offered some 5,000 programs, said Dan Baker, senior director, product management at Comcast Cable. Stoking binge-viewing with the motto "Catch up and keep up," the initiative played a part in Game of Thrones' fourth-season premiere ratings increasing 17% in Comcast homes. “We’re constantly experimenting with stunts,” Baker noted.
Amy Jo Smith, president of trade association DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, said it’s on operators to make the navigation painless for users. “If we put it in front of the consumer and all they have to do is push a button, they will,” she said.
A national network coupled with additional windows from the distributor “really creates a win-win for everyone,” said Tracy Powell, VP of distribution marketing at A+E Networks.
Anne Cowan, senior vice president of communications and marketing at CTAM, moderated the panel and brought up a key, and timely, branding challenge. After a robust round of spitballing, focus grouping and other tests, the name TV Everywhere seems to have beat out the working title—which happened to be TV Everywhere—as the long term brand name for multiplatform viewing in the industry. Consumers see it as a term that describes the product, said Powell, and find it easy to use in conversation. “It’s a name we already know,” she said.
Contemplating the future of on-demand viewing, Lauren LoFrisco, senior vice president of affiliate marketing at In Demand, said films will goose the revenue picture. “I think movies still are sexy and will stay sexy,” she said.
Comcast had a very promising start to an “own option” film sale that kicked off around Thanksgiving. “It’s been heady and terrific and we learned a ton,” Baker said. “There’s so much opportunity there.”
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