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Major Expansion for Marketing Films Online

Have you seen a movie trailer online lately? Seems like they're surfacing more frequently in all types of rich media Ads. Online film marketing is truly expanding -- in both the scope and sophistication.

In 2007, studios in the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and their subsidiaries, spent $754 million advertising films online. By 2012 that figure will increase to $2.4 billion.

According to eMarketer projections, last year online channels represented approximately 5 percent of all film advertising, but by 2012 the figure will climb to 13.2 percent.

"Not only is online film advertising spending on a fast growth curve, the marketing channels used by studios are also expanding," says Paul Verna, senior analyst at eMarketer.

"Today, virtually every film marketing campaign leverages traditional and new media channels, with applications such as social network profiles, widgets and recommendation engines becoming an integral part of the mix."

Films are rarely released without Facebook and MySpace profiles, a YouTube channel driven by the studio and other forms of direct engagement with the target audience via social media.

"The demographics of film audiences also work in favor of online and social media marketing," says Mr. Verna. "Blockbusters such as 'The Dark Knight' and 'Iron Man' appeal to the kinds of people who are online in massive numbers and are more apt to use Web 2.0 tools -- youthful, digitally savvy consumers."

However, despite the projected increases in online advertising spending, the film industry faces serious challenges in content delivery.

Box office attendance and DVD sales remain flat, and digital download services are still in their infancy. Consumers demand access, flexibility, portability and affordability, and so far no digital download service meets all these criteria.

"It's a scary time for many industry executives," says Mr. Verna. "Nevertheless, studios need to apply the lessons learned, confront their fears of revenue cannibalization -- which in the past have been misguided -- and embrace new technologies."

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