Starz Encore Group Revs Online Media Program
Starz launched Starz! Ticket on Real Movies in conjunction with RealNetworks on June 14. The premium movie service offers subscribers unlimited access to recently released movies delivered via broadband for $12.95 per month. Subscribers can download 100 movies per month to their PC hard drives from www.starz .com and http://movies.real.com. Starz is offering a 14-day free trial of the service, which it has promoted heavily on starz.com and on Real properties including Real.com and the RealGuide. The service requires the download and use of Real's RealPlayer 10.
Kelly Bumann, VP-strategic marketing, Starz Encore Group, says that heavy cross-promotional efforts tapping both companies' online properties will continue. Some Real properties receive nearly 2 million visitors per month, she notes. Streaming video, banners, boxes, and leaderboards will help promote the trial. Basement, Venice, Calif., is handling creative for the campaign; Mediasmith, San Francisco, is overseeing media buying and planning.
Bumann has targeted two audiences--business travelers and early adopters of technology. The demographic for the service is 25 to 45, "but the sweet spot is probably 35 to 45 and male-skewed," Bumann says. Income levels are more than $75K. "The big opportunity here is portability--you can take a movie with you; it's like movies to go," she says. However, the service does not allow for burning downloaded movie content onto a DVD because of the digital rights management issues surrounding that practice. For travelers, once a movie is downloaded to the hard drive, it can be played any time.
For paid media, Bumann expects to garner between 10 and 15 million impressions on a monthly basis by targeting the high-frequency business traveler. When the media plan expands to early adopters, she expects that to grow to 30 million impressions, at a minimum. Bumann, who declined to specify the media budget for the campaign that will run through the end of the year, says that offline advertising in in-flight magazines, on-air, and Wi-Fi hotspots is planned in the fourth quarter as the media plan expands.
"Online [media] gives us a great opportunity to learn about how to position our message and how to develop the creative," Bumann says. In-flight magazines and media--along with advertising on Forbes.com and in the Official Airline Guide, as well as on travel preparation sites such as Mapquest, Sabre, Expedia, and weather.com--are also planned. The message she hopes to put in front of business travelers is: "'Hey, you're on a trip--here's a movie to go. ... here's a better way to enjoy your trip,'" she adds.
David Smith, president-CEO of Mediasmith, says the agency is testing in-flight magazines, and is looking at magazines in other categories to target the early adopters: "We're looking pretty far afield to reach these targets. The whole thing--premium Web services--is a fairly new area, and an area that's going to show a tremendous amount of growth in the next couple of years," Smith says.
Promotion of the service at WiFi hotspots in airport terminals where there are long-haul flights is also planned, as is advertising on entertainment sites that stream video content. "We're looking at the streaming and video download areas of film and movie sites and different movie databases. ... Places where people who are engaged in what's new and what's hot," Bumann says.
As for WiFi hotspots, "We're looking at international terminals, and at terminals where there are East Coast/West Coast flights scheduled," Smith says. Interestingly, while upstart airline JetBlue is known for offering DirecTV terminals in each seat, the satellite TV provider does not offer any movie channels on its in-flight service. Starz sees that void as an opportunity for it to market its new movie service to millions of business travelers who regularly tote laptop PCs from trip to trip.