Cross Network Promotion: Simultaneous Theatrical/Streaming Movie Openings Might Be Easier

Using your competitor’s media platform to advertise your TV show, movie, premium streamer or theatrical movie has obvious advantages -- greater reach and scale.

Maybe more of this is coming -- even as competition among entertainment and media entities heats up.

For years, media companies’ TV networks have allowed competing media companies to use their platform for marketing gains. Does Universal Pictures need to advertise its “Fast and Furious” film franchise on Disney’s ESPN or ABC? Yes, it does.

At the same time, did Disney’s summer theatrical showing of “Jungle Cruise” find TV marketing support on NBC, the sister company of Universal pictures? It did.

For years, people have wondered -- especially MediaPost columnist Steve Sternberg -- why broadcast TV networks don't let competing TV networks buy advertising for programs on their channels? Competing cable TV networks do this all the time.



In the old days, the thinking was obvious. No one wants to lose viewers to another network. Nobody wants to see fewer viewers for “Dancing with the Stars” — only to find out they were watching “The Voice” instead.

But that concern seems to be weakened -- in part by time-shifted viewing. TV viewers can see all shows whenever they want. Theatrical movies now seem to be moving into this territory -- of sorts -- due to premium streaming.

Warner Bros. movies especially have been in this mode, where films can simultaneously air its premium streamers, such as WarnerMedia’ HBO Max. What happens if a movie like “The Many Saints of Newark” airs a TV ad on Peacock or Paramount+? Could that be a conflict?

Entertainment content of all types is more pervasive these days. For years, FX Networks touted the ever-rising growth number of premium scripted TV shows on all networks -- perhaps too much to support them all.

That’s where cross-network promotion and marketing comes in. Everyone has content, and, for the most part, consumers know where to find it.

While TV networks use their own airwaves to promote brand value through on-air promos, as well as their individual TV shows, maybe letting some paid-ads of other entertainment content, including movies, would be a good -- and financially sound -- idea.

We understand the foundational issues: For years, friction has come from TV networks’ affiliate stations, which are always in tough battles with local competitors.

The problem is the bigger picture. But the pool of legacy video impressions has been under pressure for a long time, resulting in lower impressions for TV networks' in-house program promo activities.

It’s time for a new screen industry view. But don’t call it working together or even a frenemy approach. TV viewers like to solve the plot themselves.

Next story loading loading..