It may seem hard to believe, but the way we watch TV is now affecting how films perform on their opening weekend according to an article in today's THR. With the advent of DVR's and online services like Hulu, "time shifted" television viewing is on the rise -- meaning those movie ads that have long been a part of the television viewing experience may not be reaching audiences in the way marketers intended and could be something we see far less of in the future.
Time shifted viewing -- or viewing programs at a different time than they originally aired -- has been around since the advent of the VCR, but the proliferation of DVRs (coupled with how much easier they are to use to record things than a VCR) have made recording programs to view at a later time easier than ever. A recent survey of Comcast subscribers found that 62% of them are using DVRs, Hulu, or VOD services regularly. What this means to film advertisers is that their targeted new release ads airing on a Thursday evening for a Friday release may not be seen until the following week -- making them money wasted in some instances.
Hit the jump to read more about how time shifted viewing is changing movie advertising.
Plus, the desirable 18-24 year old demographic now spends more time online than they do watching television -- a fact that will require movie marketers to shift more of their ad budgets to the online arena. Greg Kahn at Optimedia estimates that the online portion of film-based ad budgets has doubled to 10% in the past few years -- and the potential for more growth is there.
With the success of online campaigns like last year's "Demand It!" spots for Paranormal Activity, there's definite proof of the viability of this type of advertising. It's up to the marketing firms and studios to figure out how to best implement it.
This doesn't mean that movie ads on TV will disappear. As some have pointed out, time shifted viewing has increased from last year, but it still only accounts for roughly ten viewing hours per month out of the average 150 total. What may happen is that film marketers will shift their ad purchasing to news and sports -- two types of programs that are rarely time shifted -- and implement online and DVR marketing more often for primetime shows as well as rolling out new release ad campaigns for television earlier.
What this all really means is that the winds of change are blowing, but they're not a tornado. Movie ads will still be on television, but expect to see more online commercials for films and movie features on your DVR pages and sites like Hulu. Since we're already seeing ads on YouTube videos, I don't think this is going to be a drastic change. What do you think? Has the proliferation of DVRs and time shifted television viewing really affected the box office or are there just so many entertainment options vying for our time these days that people don't rush to the opening of a movie anymore?