Category Archives: Social Media

Social Media Trends & Issues on Modern Media Mix

Social Media Marketing in Modern Distribution of Films

The landscape of the film industries distribution strategy has changed dynamically in the last 10 years. From the perspective of windows of distribution, attention has shifted from the traditional theatres and television screens to mobile technology. The opportunity to get in front of a potential fan of a film by interacting with them through a device in their pocket is the power play of the digital age we currently living in.

Within the device, social media offers one of the most cost-efficient and strategic implementation of digital marketing channels in distribution tactics today. Production teams and executives can not only build networks for their studio brand names, but also build something similar to “personal brands” surrounding each individual project.

I’m Scott Burak, and I’m speaking from my experience of being the Co-founder of ADFly, LLC, a social media strategy and digital marketing development agency.

As the world continues to innovate and become more connected, these changes will become more frequent, and the studios have to continue to adapt to emerging technologies. This means opportunities for specialists and consultants in niche marketing channels across the ever-growing list of online content distribution platforms.

Social Media

Social Media Case Studies of Film Distribution

I’ve decide to investigate the social media strategies of two films, one launched through major film studios as well as one distributed independently.  For the sake of being festive this Halloween, I looked into two successful horror films (interestingly not released during scaring season).

Studio: Fox

Project: Devil’s Due

Distribution: 20th Century Fox

Release: January 17, 2014

Premise: American psychological horror film focusing in on a newly wed couple starting their family together. They decide to document their life and begin recording events that lead up the climax of their story. It becomes evident early that the woman is experiencing an uncommon and unpleasant pregnancy.

Strategy: Viral Video with over 54 million views on YouTube. Such a popular platform reached the mass markets without precisely targeting their audience. However by gaining a following for the film with these initial marketing efforts, they were able to parlay their foundation to find other similar people whom might enjoy their film.

Results:

  • Production Budget: $7,000,000
  • Box Office Returns: $15,800,000
  • Return on Investment: $8,800,000

Independent Film Studio Social Media Distribution

Studio: Animal Kingdom

Project: It Comes at Night

Distribution: A24

Release: June 9, 2017

Premise: American psychological horror film staged during a health crisis with a highly contagious outbreak that is wreaking havoc on across the planet. The main character and his son live deep in the woods and fight off other survivors looking for resources and shelter.

Strategy: Organic social media strategy played a huge role in the marketing of this project. Regular postings leading up to the release directed at a following of people that showed initial interest in the film. Then they leveraged Facebook as a platform to identified similar demographics and interests among their core audience and implement precise awareness marketing to ideal consumers.

Results:

  • Production Budget: $2,400,000.00
  • Box Office Returns: $19,300,000.00
  • Return on Investment: $16,900,000.00

Ongoing Innovation in Digital Distribution

Obviously studios and distribution networks should not see the digital revolution as a threat, but as an opportunity. With powerful analytic technology and targeting methods, comes the potential for greater ROI with strategic planning in distribution. Ultimately meaning more bang for your buck in marketing dollars.

On the horizon, I see the incorporation of two disruptive technologies that will again reinvent the way production houses push out their content digitally. I believe virtual realty will provide a platform for endless creative projects as the technology becomes more affordable and commercialized. Not only could entire projects be produced within whatever becomes the standard VR format, but studios could also get their feet wet in by incorporating small-scale projects in marketing and promotional strategy for films that are traditionally produced and consumed.

Additionally, I believe that artificial intelligence is something that any digital savvy distributors will take advantage of especially from a marketing standpoint. Being able to program computing technology to make informed decisions by aggregating information between engagement, demographics, and messaging strategies; the most profitable, most successful strategies will become apparent through mass data manipulation. This also leads to extremely relevant marketing and messaging to hyper-segmented target audiences by better understanding the correlations between what a certain group of people like compared to another.

Even more, I predict we will see incredible, personalized experiences at the crossroads of these two technologies. Imagine how an immersive virtual realty experience that adapts to how the user is interacting with the content could change the way people consume entertainment.

Regardless of which of these technologies’ potentials becomes an actual reality, one thing is for certain; Entertainment executives and content producers need to stay on their toes and ahead of the digital curve if they want to take advantage of the future of digital distribution platforms.

-Scott Burak

Social Media Poses a Challenge to the FTC’s Advertising Guidelines

Assuming you’re not already reading this on your phone, go ahead and open up your preferred social media app. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, whichever you prefer. Scroll through and quickly count the ads you see. How sure are you that you counted them all? How did you determine they were ads? Did the post say sponsored by? How about #ad?

Unfortunately, you may have missed one or two, because a content producer didn’t disclose that they were getting paid for their posts. They might be monetizing their audience, without their audience even knowing it.

This issue is not isolated to one particular industry or level and even occurs with high profile influencers such as the Kardashians, one of ninety social media influencers and marketers who received a letter from the FTC noting their legal obligations to disclose material connections. Despite this, consumer groups are still claiming that the Kardashian/Jenner family is failing to disclose that some social media posts are possibly ads.

Social MediaBut unfortunately, the Kardashian/Jenner situation isn’t the most nefarious or outrageous when it comes to this problem. That honor falls to CSGO Lotto owners Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Thomas “Syndicate” Cassell.

Before we get into what these two did, we need to understand one part of the popular first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offense, otherwise known as CS:GO. CS:GO has a well known and very successful micro-transaction business model that creates unique and rare gun skins for cosmetic use inside the game. And because the developer and publisher of CS:GO, Valve, created a marketplace where players can trade in-game items for real money they quickly became a pseudo-currency that could be used for gambling on websites.

Social MediaTo have a complete and total understanding of what CS: GO skins are won’t be necessary for the rest of this article but if you want to know more here is a handy article to learn more.

But back to Martin and Cassell, both of whom are popular CSGO players on YouTube and Twitch. The pair co-owned and operated a skin gambling website called CSGOLotto in which they actively promoted on both other creator’s platforms, but their own.

(Here is one of Cassell’s videos where he gambles on his own website.)

Basically imagine a Vegas casino owner hiring Brad Pitt to play at their casino without letting anyone know, and then sitting down at their own table and playing a few hands with house money. While this already seems bad, it’s made worse by the fact that the main audiences of all social media influencers involved are minors.

This situation has to lead to the first-ever complaint against individual social media influencers on the FTC which was settled September of 2017. With Martin, Cassell and the influencers, they paid to promote their website getting little more than a slap on the wrist from the FTC. You can see the settlement here.

“Consumers need to know when social media influencers are being paid or have any other material connection to the brands endorsed in their posts. This action, the FTC’s first against individual influencers, should send a message that such connections must be clearly disclosed so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions,” said Maureen Ohlhausen, the acting chair of the FTC, when the settlement was reached.

While there was a lawsuit over the illegal gambling which involves the CSGOLotto owners and the video game publisher Valve, there are no are legal or financial punishments for either Martin or Cassell for deceptively advertising their website.

For now, it seems, social media influencers will continue to give the FTC problems until an influencer is made an example of.

-Chase Danielson

Why Watch when you can Listen? The Evolution of Podcasts

With the holiday season right around the corner, Americans across the country are traveling for hours to visit friends and family. For me, I have a few gruelingly long trips ahead of me. When I was younger, I would spend the time playing car games with my brother and sister or pestering my parents. Today, I listen to podcasts.

podcastsA podcast is “a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.” According to the History of Podcasting, podcasts are the “method of spreading information, has become a recognized medium for distributing audio content, whether it be for corporate or personal use.” Today, the podcast industry is booming. There are about 250,000 unique podcasts spread over 100 language and iTunes had over 1 billion podcast subscribers in 2013.

How podcasts came to be was not as staggering as its current listening reach. The beginning of podcasts come from small internet sites who were creating podcasts about specific topics and people for people who cared about the niche topic or person.

Podcasts did not garner national recognition until 2015 when This American Life, a public radio show, developed the podcast Serial. This podcast used investigative journalism to explore the murder of a young high school girl and the boy convicted of that murder. The listener had to listen to each episode in order to understand and follow the story. This podcasts was the catalyst that helped slingshot the industry to what it is today.

podcastsWhile there are many reasons for podcasts popularity, here are a few of the basic reasons I believe podcasts work:

  • Podcasts cover a wide range of topics. The thousands of different podcasts available cover a variety of topics that can pique the interest of any person. Some of the more common topics for podcasts are: religion, comedy and humor, crime, educational, feminist, history, horror, and science fiction. Christianity leads the way in active podcasts on iTunes in 2015 with 23,200 active podcasts.
  • Podcasts are portable. Unlike television where you need to sit down to enjoy it, podcasts allow listeners to listen to the podcast during any part of their day. I listen to podcasts when I’m working out, shopping for groceries, waiting in line at the bank and during my very few attempts at cleaning.
  • Podcasts are relatively inexpensive. For the podcaster, podcasts are easy and relatively inexpensive to make. All a person needs is equipment to record and edit the podcast and a way to publish it online. For the listener, podcasts can be found free online. If you want to create a podcast, Sound Cloud, is a great place to start.

While podcasts had humble beginnings, they have escalated into a thriving industry. An estimated 50 million people listen to podcasts each month. This high number of people listening to podcasts is reflected in the growing revenue of the podcast industry. In fact, estimates put the 2017 podcast revenue at 220 million dollars, an 85% growth from the previous year. Looking into the future, companies are working to determine how ads on podcasts can be effective. Until then, podcasts will continue to thrive as a way to educate listeners around the globe on a variety of topics.

-Daniel Roers

The Future of Sports Media: How Barstool Sports Is Changing the Game

What comes to mind when you think of a sports media company? You most likely think of ESPN or Fox Sports 1, but I’m not going to talk about either one of those. Can you guess what it is? The company that I am talking about is Barstool Sports. Maybe you have heard of them or maybe you have not, but I promise you one thing, you will eventually know the name.

Sports media Barstool Sports first got its start as a free newspaper that founder, Dave Portnoy, handed around in Boston. From there, Portnoy has taken Barstool to Manhattan, where they have 70 plus employees with 20 interns and are worth an estimate of $15 million. What Barstool does is take trending news stories, specifically with sports, and make articles that are funny and satire. That is their style. Portnoy is quoted saying “We mean this to be a comedy brand”. This style definitely does justice, with their website getting 6 million visits a month.

So how did Barstool go from a free newspaper to making millions of dollars? Well their big rise started when the Chernin Group, an entertainment media company, bought 51% of Barstool Sports, but Dave Portnoy still has 100% oversite. With this big deal, Barstool moved its headquarters to Manhattan. The reason for this deal was to take Barstool to the next level, and to make it more popular. After the deal was done, Portnoy said: “This was our best shot to literally take this thing to the moon. To swing for the fences. Hopefully this deal makes us bigger, faster, stronger, better at everything we do.” Here is a link to a press conference that Barstool had following this deal. (Video)

After this deal, Barstool gained many more followers. Everything they did spiked in popularity. Barstool does not just have a website, they have podcasts, shows, and an xm radio show. Their social media sites have also gained gotten huge. Their Twitter has 915.7K followers, and their Instagram has 2.8 million followers. Barstool is also known for pioneering the slogan “Saturdays are for the boys” which has made its way to even having professional athletes saying it.

Sports media

Barstool has many podcasts with some having a lot of popularity. According to an iTunes chart, Barstool has eight podcSports mediaasts in the top forty sports podcasts. Pardon My Take is sitting at number one. Pardon My Take is a podcast that does a variety of segments and does an interview with a well-known person in the sports world. They make their episodes as funny and trendy as they can by using profane humor. With more than 500,000 listeners per episodes they definitely bring a different side to sports news, making every episode interesting and enjoyable to listen to.

Barstool also does shows that are very popular also. Their newest one is made for college football, and it is called “The Barstool Tailgate Show.” For this show, Dave Portnoy and other Barstool workers go to a college before a football game and do their own show. They made this show for the purpose to compete against the ESPN tailgate show, College Gameday. For this show Barstool went to an Iowa game and it was very popular. One of the Barstool workers actually put an ear of corn in front of a fan’s face to see if he would eat it and he actually did. They did this because of the Iowa stereotype that all Iowans love corn.

Barstool Sports has definitely made their way up the sports media ladder. So, if you are a sports fan or just like funny media, go listen to a podcasts, go on their website, or even watch one of their shows. I promise you that you will not be disappointed, and always remember, Saturdays are for the boys!

-Quentin Mendlik

Going LIVE in 3..2..1: Facebook Rolls Out Live Video

If I asked you what the top number one social media platform, what would you think it is? According to multiple websites, Facebook is the most used social media website. It’s no wonder to see why. Facebook allows for many uses; whether it be creeping on your crush in your chemistry class, or seeing how Barb from high school is doing in life, Facebook allows for you to do it all. Even go live.

Facebook LiveOn April 6, 2016 Facebook Live was dropped into the Facebook social media platform. According to Facebook’s creator Mark Zuckerberg “Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world. When you interact live, you feel connected in a more personal way. This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.” Mark went on to go live that night to answer questions.

While the in-app feature went ‘live’ on April 6, 2016, the ad campaign to promote it did not start until around October. The ads which were featured on TV were put out in two phases. The first phase to be an awareness to the in-app feature. (These included cute non-scripted short videos used with the app.)

The second being an instructional purpose. (These were also made with the app however many started with the phrase ‘How to go live when…’ and then in app videos would be featured)

While the feature has been met with some criticism because of people’s uses with it, it has had a very good use with businesses. One good example of this is Land Rover.

Throughout April of 2016 Land Rover would do live test of their vehicles on every Friday.  Each test would feature on and off road situation. They would then end these with a Q and A session for anyone viewing the video.  According to Land Rover’s head of global digital marketing Peter Biven, “We needed to make our products more accessible to online viewers and increase interaction with fans and potential customers. It felt like now was the right time for detailed product demos.”

So, with all the hype of Facebook Live what do you think of it? Do you believe it is a positive feature of the app or a negative feature? Leave a comment below! 🙂

Taylor Peterson

Social Media Live

Your 6:00pm local news is no longer your only source of live content. Over the past two years, we’ve seen network news companies go live on Facebook, the NFL stream live its first game on Twitter, and people from around the world, famous or your average cat lover, stream live on Periscope.

social media facebook live“Going Live” on social media is the new sexy thing. People will stream anything and everything to grow their social media audience, to inform the general public, and to simply say “hello”. We’ll look at who’s using Facebook, Twitter, and Periscope, what Facebook has done to promote its Facebook Live and how Twitter is changing the streaming game, and how it could be utilized in the future.

social media twitter   social media periscope   social media facebook

To understand why going live on social media is popular, we need to know three things, who is on Facebook, Twitter, and Periscope, what the potential reach of people is, and which one is most effective. Facebook has the most users of the internet on the site.

As of August 2015, Facebook had 72% of the Internet users using its site. 77% of the women on the Internet use Facebook compared to men. 82% of people 18 to 29 years of age use Facebook. Twitter has 23% of the Internet users using its site. 25% of male Internet users use Twitter compared to 21% of women Internet users. Periscope has only 1% of Internet users and 71% of men post Periscope URL’s.

Clearly Facebook has the larger reach and even though Twitter owns Periscope, their reach doesn’t even come close to Facebook’s. We can see that with the percentage of Internet users that Facebook has, they clearly have deep enough pockets to pay high profile people and organizations to user their latest feature, Facebook Live.

After 2015, Facebook’s revenue increased 40% and they made $18 billion in advertising and they are on a steady pace to do well in 2016. They have the money to pay people to play with their new toys. Facebook was a little late to the social media live party. They launched Facebook Live on April 9th of 2016 and Pericope was launched back in 2015.

But how has Facebook Live brought this whole social media live to the forefront of social media culture? They paid a lot, and I mean a lot, of people and organizations to do so. Facebook made a deal with ABC to Facebook Live 74 hours of the RNC and DNC during the 2016 Presidential race which delivered 28 million views, but with no dollars attached.

social media rnc dnc liveIt’s tough to make money off of Facebook Live because it has no ad support or ways to advertise. But Facebook is all about getting its new things in front of people. Facebook has spent over $50 million with almost 140 different video creators to use Facebook Live. The graph below shows how much they’ve spent on who.

social media live contentI know it seems like Facebook is doing everything with the new live technology, but Twitter has signed a deal with an organization who owns a full day, the NFL. This year, Twitter signed a deal with the NFL to live stream 10 Thursday Night Football games during the 2016 season. Twitter had to pay a hefty sum of $10 million and could only sell some of their ad inventory exclusively but Twitter has attracted quite the audience, especially for the first game of the 2016 season.

On average, every minute of the game had about 243,000 people watching the Twitter stream. On the television side, 15.4 million people were watching on CBS and the NFL Network. Twitter’s first live stream of the game reach 2.1 million people who watched only a small portion of the game. Even though Twitter has only 23% of Internet users, 2.1 million people being reached due to a Thursday Night Football game made some people perk their ears which can really start changing the live streaming game.

What can live streaming on social media do for the future? If you think about it, it can really change the game of advertising and can be a way to promote concerts and events, businesses, or inform the general public easier. It’s cheap to stream live on social medias. If you have a phone and enough storage space to download Twitter, Facebook, or Periscope app, you too can stream live. You don’t need a television tower, big expensive equipment, a vehicle, or anything that it normally takes to do a live television broadcast.

Social media reaches so many people around the world you can reach anyone, anywhere, at any time by simply going live. But how is it going to affect the distribution of content? I don’t think it will change much. It’s a new way to distribute content but not a way to replace a current way of distributing content. We still have people who are making those fun live stream cat videos and that means one thing, it’s a social media tool more than broadcast tool, right now.

Where do you see social media livestreaming in the near and distant future going forward? Do you follow pages on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Periscope for live information consistently? What other ways can social media livestreams profit besides ads? Comment below!

Connor Kenney

NAB Show 2016 Recap

Ten students from the University of Northern Iowa had the opportunity to participate in the 3rd Annual Expedition to the NAB Show in Las Vegas this spring. They studied everything from post production editing and media distribution to the latest trends in virtual reality. Check out their videos on the UNI Digital Media Leadership YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page for more post-show updates!

NAB Show 2016 Overview

Here is an overview of the NAB Show 2016. This will give you look and the size and scope of the convention and a taste of the fun these students had.

 

Post Production Overview

Check out the latest in post production software and equipment. These students got a firsthand look at the latest products from companies like Black Magic, Adobe, and GoPro.

 

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality was a hot topic this year at the NAB Show. Media producers are experimenting with new ways of storytelling and incorporating VR into new media work flows.

Media Distribution

The world of media distribution is constantly changing and the sources of revenue for content has shifted a lot in the last few years. See how come companies are staying ahead of the curve.

 

Special thanks to the IBA for making this trip possible! We’re looking forward to next year’s trip and planning to bring you more great content straight from the NAB Show floor.

NAB Show 2016 UNI Digital Media Leadership

Just Brand It: Nike Does It Best

It’s a Saturday Morning in your favorite college town. You wake up, put on your socks, shorts, and favorite team’s jersey. You turn the TV onto ESPN’s College Game Day before putting on your jacket and heading out to tailgate. More than likely, your day has been consumed with one major brand. Nike is everywhere in our lives, whether it be the socks you wear or the commercials you see on TV. Nike has become a part of everyday life, especially if you have anything to do with the sporting world.

NikeNike Incorporated is a clothing, footwear, sportswear, and equipment supplier Originally based in the United States. It is the world’s leading supplier of athletic shoes and apparel. It’s headquartered are located near Beaverton, Oregon and has 44,00 employers world wide. Originally it was founded as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight on January 25, 1964.

Celebrity endorsements are huge in the sports clothing branding world. Nike uses stars like LeBron James and Tiger Woods for customers and children to look up to. Nike has Hundreds of millions of dollars poured into their celebrities to sport their brand within everything they do on and off the field or court. LeBron alone signed a lifetime $500 Million contract for the brand at the end of 2015.

Nike also uses inner laziness as the enemy, and challenges you to “Just Do It.” They brand themselves via platforms through social media, sports networks, and the sports teams themselves. When reaching the everyday person, Nike wants to make them feel like the best athlete they can be. And to be the best, they have to wear the best and get outside, and get fit.

NikeOne of Nike’s most recent advertising developments targets young adults. To promote the Nike SLAM brand, they presented “Nike Pictures” where they made a full short film following kids trying to figure out who their favorite NBA stars are by living with them. They showed 30 second commercials on television for two months, driving people to watch the entire film on the Nike Slam website.

Nike has come a long way since the 60’s. The Iconic Nike Swoosh can be found everywhere. By using information gathered through everyday experiences from their customers, Nike brands itself through heroism and finding an internal fear inside their customers. Though on the surface it seems like two opposite strategies of branding, it works enough to put them in the Forbes top brands in the country.

Austin Hansen