This weekend’s Academy Awards telecast is arguably entertainment’s biggest event. For the second year in a row, Comcast is looking to make it even bigger, looping in its Xfinity X1 viewing platform to be the source for all things Oscar. Having achieved success in the form of a 39% increase in ratings for the programs in its markets, Comcast is looking to go even bigger this year, to attract more audiences to its programs and to show off its advanced, voice-controlled viewing platform. Marketing Daily spoke with Todd Arata, vice president of brand marketing at Comcast, about the company’s efforts.
Q: What’s your overall goal for this experience?
A: The Oscars are one of the most-watched events of the year. Over 40 million Americans tune into it. So the power of the Oscars brand becomes a huge opportunity to tie into our relationship with ABC and showcase the power of Xfinity and what our X1 platform can do. It basically allows us to pull together the full collection of content, from great Oscars moments, to the full background of the 2017 nominees, etc. It becomes a great product showcase and allows us to bring to life our love of movies and make X1 the destination for all things Oscars.
Q: What does it look like? How do you go about designing it and putting it together?
A: It’s all about the ease and simplicity. This is the one time of year where all these movies come to life, and we’re a platform that’s based on entertainment. The power of our platform is that, basically, any movie you’re interested in — from the current year of nominated films through the history of Oscar-winning movies is available. The power is it’s curated in a simple way in which we are able to break down by best picture, best actor, best cinematography and on down to the niche categories. This is also the one time of year that all the news about celebrities and award winners are talked about. There’s over 80,000 commands that you can use with your voice as well.
Q: What are you looking for this year?
A: We want to have a strong ratings performance. First, we want to show the investment we’re putting forth and have our audience engaged on Sunday night and engage in higher levels than national brands. Number two, is time spent on our platform. We have a trivia game on there that allows younger audiences to learn more about the awards and the celebrities walking the red carpet. And three, I hope it lifts the brand. We saw a nice bump last year in engagement. I hope our love of movies and ability to bring this to life helps us break through and lifts overall brand consideration and image.
Q: What have you learned from last year that you incorporated to this year?
A: Anytime we put Xfinity in the center of popular culture it’s a win for us. Understanding we had a good model that was working for us, we wanted to go deeper. It’s also important that you get to younger audiences and demographics to go across multiple screens. This year, we made sure the content destination was transferable across the tablet and desktop, which ensured consumers, whatever their entry point, would get a seamless experience. We also learned about the way people were quoting movies, and we knew what movies were trending and could have fun. We now have easter eggs in the platforms, so if you ask for “Titanic” you hear the famous quote (“I’m the king of the world!”). It allows consumers who are engaged with the platform to have some fun with it and be surprised.
Q: How does this build the Comcast brand?
A: Xfinity is all about surprise and delight and the love of movies. We want to put Xfinity at the center of popular culture. From a customer perspective, it brings [them in] deeper and adds more value. For non-customers, we hope it provides a unique way to break through.
Q: How do you reach those non-customers to let them know what’s available?
A: We have a full marketing plan that we put forth. It’s everything from TV advertisements to targeted one-to-one media. We’ve added this content to our website, and our direct-mail efforts. We’ve put it in our retail stores. We partnered with SnapChat, Flipboard and BuzzFeed, who is helping us put together a bunch of stories lines about what life would be like if you were an award winner. That’s something a younger audience really looks at. And we publish a lot of stories on Xfininty.com, which is a destination for all audiences.
Q: What’s the message you want consumers to take away?
A: I hope they see Xfinity and the X1 platform as the destination for movie enjoyment, and I hope they see the front row experience that makes them say, “Wow, look what they do for movies. What can they do for the Olympics or other entertainment that I need to see?” I hope they see the power of that.