Why Entertainment Brands Should Think Like Indie Video Store Owners

Ben Johnson on 25 November 2014

In a recent article Netflix’s chief of Product Neil Hunt stated that Netflix’s recommendations algorithm saves the company an estimated 500M USD based on the simple math that if 1% of the recommendations are good enough they avoid a cancellation of the subscription. Unfortunately, not all brands have the technical expertise or the budget to afford the high costs of building and managing a complex recommendations service. So what can you do as marketer working for on an entertainment content portfolio that includes new releases as well as older classic titles (part of the catalogue of content) for TV or a movie company? We feel the key is in the content catalogue.

Remember the days of the local indie video store, where we often asked the opinions of the staff? These opinions and experiences helped streamline the process of choosing the movie to watch that night. This is an important process for the digital age and yet it’s missing from the majority of the campaigns where the focus is primarily on the new shows or films which have the marketing budget.

When we discuss movies or shows with friends and strangers it’s often within the narrative of a particular scene or memorable moment because it’s a shared emotional experience that helps connect us as individuals. We as humans respond well to this form of communication (just check out the millions of content recommendations on IMDB and other media), because its based on story telling, something we have been doing since we sat around campfires in the stone age. So the answer to the question above may lie in the content and the knowledge and use of that content.

Entertainment brands like HBO, Netflix, Maxdome, etc could easily identify the key elements of their content catalogue that resonate with particular audiences and interest groups and inject these into the conversation via ads that are the distribution channel for those stories and conversations. For example HBONordic have 160+ tv shows including classics like EastBound and Down, Generation Kill, The Wire, etc, yet to find them you have to search through the site and manually discover the content, shouldn’t this streamlining of discovery be part of the paid media campaign also? The Wire is a 12 year old classic, which means that next generation ought to discover it too, so why shouldn’t that be on HBO Nordic (in Scandinavia), and wouldn’t it be a bigger win if it was off the back of a pre existing campaign for a new release?

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 15.42.56

The shows mentioned above have great scenes, great dialogue and strong performances that make great stories to share with friends. Check out one of my favourites like the ‘motherfucker’ scene from the Wire in the 4th episode of season 1 (embedding from YouTube has been disabled so here is the link –http://youtu.be/4df09uZi9A4). Having this content at my finger tips and being reminded about it will keep me going back to HBO Nordic to dip and mix my favourite episodes when I am not in the mood to watch something new. For example this month I have re-watched Generation Kill, and several episodes from East Bound and Down.

Today the concept of store clerks recommendations on what to check out is possible at scale because of:

  • video technology like Youtube for stringing great scenes together into a narrative
  • easy distribution of these recommendations through social media
  • the ability to  reach targeted audiences of defined tastes identified via the social exchanges of Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Linkedin.

Imagine curated content suggestions, best show suggestions, classic scene suggestions – with polling and voting and linking through to being able to watch the content directly – pushed as a status update, tweet, or in-stream update at key times determined by realtime audience analysis.  Pretty Sweet!

Generation Kill

For a quick catch up on how brands should be evolving their story telling abilities online check out the presentation by Addie Conner, Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, SocialCode – LeWeb’13 Paris – The Next 10 Years


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