How Digital Media Has Reshaped The Entertainment Sector
Digital media has been a truly disruptive force in the entertainment sector during the last decade, changing how studios disseminate marketing messages and how fans engage with their favorite entertainment properties and franchises, and consume content. A media property without a digital or social media presence is fighting a losing battle. Digital is king and those that manage to maximize the potential benefits are best placed to enhance brand image and drive revenue.
Digital media is now central to the success of music artists. Ever since British band the Arctic Monkeys used MySpace in the mid-2000s for promotion on their own terms away from traditional models, social media and other digital formats have been key to amplifying marketing messages. This is now more important as streaming plays more of a role in the visibility of music artists and how they position in the top charts. Sharing content via clips on Facebook and Instagram increases their mind share with the millions of people that use social media every day. It is now incredibly difficult for a band or solo artist to make a notable impact without leveraging the digital media channels available to them.
These channels also feed into brand building, according to Raffi Keuhnelian, CEO of Music Promo Today. He says: “Social media has allowed musical talents from around the world to become global superstars. Just think of Justin Bieber, Adele or The Weekend – they all ‘made it’ online. It also offers music fans the ability to interact and engage with their favorite musicians. Fans feel like they have a voice with social media and that they are being heard. Artists use it to communicate with their fans by keeping them in the know-how of the latest news and upcoming releases. Successful artists are those that excel with their digital marketing strategy and reap the rewards of their creative approach.”
Movies have always had large marketing budgets, so it is no surprise that producers and studios are using organic social media content to diversify their ad and marketing campaigns. Star Wars is one of the most popular franchises in history but it turned to a viral campaign to build awareness for The Force Awakens, the seventh chapter in the saga. Eager fans around the world shared a video of the trailer published on Star Wars’ YouTube and other official social media accounts, which generated a staggering 234 million interactions across various social platforms before its release.
Disney’s marketing machine also partnered with Google to create a #ChooseYourSide campaign ahead of the film’s premiere to boost engagement, as it urged fans to “Awaken the Force” and opt for either the dark or light, with colorful Star Wars graphics. Star Wars also continues to use a ThrowbackThursday hashtag on Instagram to publish nostalgic images from the original trilogy, which proves very popular with its audience. Digital media campaigns for music, TV and film are no longer singular, isolated activities, but multi-faceted marketing that use a range of different content formats and social platforms to push important messages and drive reach.
Ryan Kavanaugh, a renowned businessman, movie producer and financier, served as a producer for the recent release of horror movie The Strangers: Prey at Night, and the team behind the film launched an official website and managed a popular social media marketing campaign in the run-up to its release. Before Christmas, a #25DaysofPreyer hashtag was used alongside festively themed images, before the team turned to promo images in the New Year to spoof the iconic Dollface character from the original movie.
Kavanaugh is also among the influential figures in the movie industry harnessing social media to tap into cultural trends and support potential new projects. A tweet by Kavanaugh urging fans to retweet with the goal of making a Harambe movie has already generated almost a quarter of million retweets and 78,000 likes. This method of directly engaging with people was simply not an option for the entertainment industry prior to the advent of digital media and social platforms.
Social media platforms are now maturing, and entertainment properties are becoming more experienced in marketing methods on social media, so more creative methods are coming to the fore. Six-second ads, shoppable ads, and newer platforms such as Snapchat are also serving up more options for engagement in the social media sphere. Away from social, streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime continue to disrupt the process of delivering TV shows and movies to the masses. Moving forward, it appears that many entertainment properties will pivot away from large-scale multiplexes to platforms that viewers can access with ease at home. That’s not to say that traditional models of consumption, marketing or advertising will disappear entirely, just that digital media will take up an increasingly bigger share. With virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence on the horizon, digital media is sure to transform entertainment once again.