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Lights, Camera, Action: Radio Jockeys For Bigger Slice Of Movie Ad Budgets.

Radio receives just 2.2% of the movie industry’s ad spend as studios allocate the vast majority of their budgets to linear TV and digital media. Through advocacy and research, radio industry leaders are working to capture a more meaningful share of Hollywood ad budgets, playing up the medium’s ability to reach a large faction of movie-oriented consumers.

“Radio is making its case that audio media merits a bigger slice of movie advertising budgets because it provides breadth — a wider swath of audiences than alternatives — and a higher percentage of heavy moviegoers,” says Robert Marich, author of the book "Marketing to Moviegoers" whose three editions are printed by academic publishers.

Marich, who contributes to the trade publication Variety and was a Senior Editor at Kagan, picks up on an August 2023 blog post by Cumulus Media/Westwood One Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard that analyzed various studies on the topic. The research shows that heavy listeners of AM/FM radio show greater enthusiasm for an upcoming movie sequel than heavy TV viewers, or of the general population – and are more likely to be avid theatergoers, and to see films on opening weekend.

“Taking a long look at film advertising, TV and digital media are audio/visual media, so their characteristics match film. That’s why they are popular with movie marketers,” Marich writes in a blog post entitled “Radio Plugs Its ‘Reach’ For Film Ads.” “On the other hand, radio-podcasting-music streaming are audio only, of course. But films are widely consumed, so marketing reach is important to connect to the full potential audience.”

Backing up radio’s moviegoers reach claim are the results of a Cumulus-commissioned study from MARU/Matchbox among more than 1,000 moviegoers in November 2022. It shows that ad-supported audio (including AM/FM radio, podcasts, and streaming) has the largest weekly reach among heavy moviegoers – 93% – well ahead of video platforms. “Ad-supported audio can drive the greatest reach for theatrical marketers,” Bouvard says.

Further proof of AM/FM radio's potential as a driver of theatrical moviegoing activity resulted from researcher Screen Engine/ASI's test of the trailer for “The Expendables 4” – the continuation of the action film series starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Megan Fox, and other A-listers – among nearly 2,400 moviegoers. Heavy AM/FM listeners were 17% more likely to want to see “Expendables 4” in a theater vs. heavy TV viewers and 15% more likely vs. the total sample. At the same time, heavy AM/FM listeners were 11% more positive about the movie than heavy TV viewers and 16% more positive than the total sample.

Warner Bros. Pictures Executive VP of Worldwide Marketing Dana Nussbaum addressed how the filmmaker’s marketing relies on delivering regionalized messaging at scale, a strategy that lends itself to radio advertising. “Everything that we are doing is incredibly data driven,” she said in an audio segment posted on iHeartMedia’s Marketer’s Report page on LinkedIn. “We're getting signals every single day about how specific audiences are performing. So although we're marketing at a very broad scale, and that does include specific local markets, that's really the beauty of the iHeart network. You're not serving the same message to a consumer in Nashville necessarily that you may be in New York, you have the ability to be very specific and very personalized, but at a tremendous scale.”

Using the Nielsen Media Impact planning tool, Bouvard showed what would happen when 20% of a new movie’s TV budget is reallocated to radio. The analysis examined actual ad spend on five major movie campaigns, ranging from $12.6 to $34.8 million. The shift to radio saw incremental reach of adults 18-49 soar by anywhere from 78% to 179%. “Right off the bat, you can see that you're missing 60% of all Americans 18-49,” Bouvard says. “Every title saw double the reach, and interestingly, the smaller the budget, actually the higher the reach.”

Of course, a 20% reallocation of movie marketing budgets would be a major change for Hollywood. “But the radio advertising advocacy might move the needle somewhat less, which still would be an accomplishment,” Marich says.

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1 commentaire

Clark Smidt
Clark Smidt
29 déc. 2023

The movie trailer commercials sounded excellent on radio. And, radio music always enhanced memorable movies. Radio and Movies are the perfect connection. Here's to The 2024 Comeback!

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