Bright Lights, Big Ditty: Golden Globes Prove Big Event -- Online
Take the case of Yahoo!. Its entertainment properties--which include Yahoo! Movies, TV, Games, and Music collectively--drew 24.3 million unique visitors in November 2003, according to Nielsen//NetRatings data, which represents an unduplicated audience for roll-ups. Nipping at its heels for the same period was AOL's AOL Moviefone, Entertainment, Games, and Music with 18.4 million visitors, followed closely by Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Entertainment with 17 million. Yahoo! has seen the number of feature films advertised on its Yahoo! Movies channel increase from 74 in 2002 to 131 in 2003. In 2001, the channel had only 17. Yahoo! Movies racked up 8.5 million unique visitors in December, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.
In the last year or so, studios have also upped their online spends, in some cases going from the low hundreds of thousands to the one million dollar range per movie. In addition, Web content related to movies, awards shows (the Grammys and Oscars), film festivals like Sundance, and other event-driven programming has opened new opportunities for marketers to partner with premium content providers and portals.
"What we've seen [in the last year] is that more movie studios are moving money from print [advertising] to online," said Jim Moloshok, Yahoo!'s senior-VP, media, entertainment, information, and finance. He said that where Web media may have only been three or four percent of a studio's budget, in the best cases it's jumped to six or eight percent.
Yahoo!, like its rivals, wants to attract non-entertainment advertisers--including auto, beer, and financial services--to sponsor its entertainment properties. Moloshok notes that most of auto marketers' online advertising remains within automotive information resource sites.
Yahoo! Movies has lured some heavy-hitting sponsors. Hewlett-Packard Co. was a prominent sponsor of the site's Sundance coverage, part of a much larger Yahoo!/HP relationship. Symantec, the Internet security software provider, is a sponsor of Yahoo!'s Golden Globes content provided by "Entertainment Tonight." American Express will tie into ET's Grammy coverage. It's also planning TV advertising during the event.
Come Oscar time, PepsiCo's Pepsi-Cola and HP will team up to sponsor an extensive array of ET-provided content including a photo gallery, backstage access, and video coverage. Pepsi also has TV spots planned during the Oscar broadcast. Combined, the two marketers are projected to spend in the low seven figures on Web marketing and media, according to industry sources. Their sponsorship activity extends from the day the Oscar nominations are announced through post-event coverage and wrap-up. Yahoo! reported 30 million page views last year on the day after the Oscars, as a result of Web cruisers checking out photos and video footage.
The more marketers are able to tie their offline media buys to online programs, the more effective their overall spends are. "We have such a huge reach on Yahoo! that by being the main sponsor of big Internet coverage, it gives them extra brand association with the event itself," Moloshok said.