Paramount Pictures in the Digital Age

CMO

Dina Marovich is at the crossroads of analytics and marketing in her role as Senior Vice President, Worldwide Media & Interactive Marketing, Paramount Home Media Distribution. At Paramount, she has had success marketing many top-tier film franchises including Star Trek and Transformers.

We sat down with Dina to discuss the evolving nature of film production and the challenges and opportunities it brings with it.

1. In a fast-paced industry such as film production, how do you keep up with changing consumer patterns and demands?

It really is more than a full-time job. There have been more changes in our business over the last five years than there have been in the last few decades. I suspect this trend will only continue and even accelerate. The strategies and tactics we employed to market a given film release, even a few short months ago, may no longer be relevant today. Fortunately, we have many data sources at our disposal—both internal and external—that track how our audiences are buying and consuming movies. Our teams are also in daily contact with all of our retail partners, and this is a frequent topic of discussion.

Besides all of the valuable insights and data at our disposal, I believe that as a marketer, it is critical to go out and observe how consumers spend their leisure time. Activities such as attending concerts or movies, going to grocery stores, shopping malls, and restaurants are all activities that many of us engage in, but when you’re in marketing you tend to look at these everyday activities through different lenses. The question we as marketers should continually be answering is “what is currently grabbing my audience’s attention, and how can my brand best function in this space?”

2. Given that Paramount Pictures is one of the world’s oldest-surviving studios, how do you market its products in a way that is both innovative and aligned with the traditional Paramount brand?

Paramount Pictures has been around for over a hundred years, and it’s been a privilege for me to be a part of its history. Obviously much has changed, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the appreciation our audiences have for a good story. We view each film we release as an opportunity to engage with our audiences in fresh new ways. For those of us in marketing, it’s really about carrying on Paramount’s tradition of great storytelling, while communicating the unique selling points of each film to our prospective audiences in ways that align with their current lifestyle and media consumption patterns.

3. How do you ensure that your product marketing is relevant to a worldwide audience?

We have passionate and dedicated international marketing teams in dozens of territories throughout the world, and we are in constant communication with them. These teams are able to observe how the U.S. strategies are formulated and implemented, and then they have an opportunity to weigh in and adjust them accordingly to align with the needs and wants of their territories’ consumers and business climates, all the while staying true to the overall positioning of the film. We have a few meetings every year in person to discuss the upcoming titles, along with the opportunities and challenges that each one presents, and we then formulate the strategies that we believe will best position our films around the globe.

4. What role does social media play in forging this relevance?

Social media plays an integral role in all of our marketing plans. After the theatrical release of a given film, we in the Home Media division inherit the social handles across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. so we can continue the dialog with fans throughout the home entertainment window. We have the benefit of learning which content and messaging resonated most with fans during the theatrical campaign, and we work to keep our audiences engaged and interested until the home entertainment release date, which is typically anywhere from three to five months after the theatrical release in most territories. Engaging with social media is how a majority of our consumers spend a significant portion of their day, particularly on mobile devices, so we have to constantly gain and keep their attention on these platforms in new and surprising ways.

5. What challenges has the declining market for physical disc formats brought to your role and how have you adapted your strategy to deal with this and the rise of video streaming and downloading?

Although sales of discs have declined, physical still accounts for a large share of our revenue and at the same time the digital business has been increasing. This has created a challenging yet exciting environment . The number one skill that I believe you need in order to successfully operate in these challenging times is being able to be innovative and resourceful simultaneously.

One of the ways we’ve been fostering digital adoption is by offering consumers the ability to purchase (vs. rent) digital versions of films (at destinations such as iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and Xbox) anywhere from one to four weeks prior to the Blu-ray and DVD release dates.

This relatively new windowing strategy has also prompted us to re-think our marketing and media planning strategies in several important ways. We now have three phases of our media plans: Digital HD downloads, Blu-ray and DVD (physical) and VOD (Video On Demand rentals). We have three distinct media campaigns for each new release, but only one, sometimes very limited, budget. As a result, we are consistently challenged to do more with less, and to target our consumers in new and different environments. In the Home Entertainment market of today, we are continually testing new marketing and media strategies to boost both digital and physical transactions, working to be as creative as possible, and also ensuring that we’re spending efficiently and maximizing every dollar.

To hear more such insights, join Dina at the Brand Forum 2018 where she will be delivering a keynote address. 

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