There’s a bit more to this that is still to be put into place and so I’ll wait until then to announce it, but for now I’ll do a bit of self-promoting and point you to an op-ed piece I’ve contributed to Brandweek. This first one deals with the newly launched publicity site launched by Sony Pictures and what works on it and what is still missing.
What I didn’t get to in the column is that it’s great that Sony has launched this site, but I’m a little concerned it seems to be solely about the studio’s holiday-season releases. I hope they use it past this batch of releases and continue to update it from here on out. They launched a separate site for Superbad that contains some good stuff. But there needs to be some unified thinking here.
One site for Sony Pictures is going to be infinitely more useful in the long-run than a bunch of individual sites – the latter could be accomplished via the already in existence official websites. If there’s going to be a press room there really should be a press room, not dozens of mini rooms to hit.
Anyway, the contributions to Brandweek are going to be an on-going thing as much as I can. Hope you enjoy them.
Opinion: Sony Pictures Catches on to Web 2.0 Marketing
August 16, 2007
By Chris Thilk
Press rooms for movies tend to fall into one of two categories: Either they don’t exist or are password-protected, requiring Web masters to apply for access that may or may not be granted. This may have made sense 10 years ago when there were a precious few media outlets and access was a sign of status in the world of movie journalism, but times have changed. Give someone five minutes and they’ll have a blog setup. Give them a couple months and they may have a decent following. Most importantly, these micro-publishers are becoming more influential with readers than their mainstream media predecessors.
With this sort of playing field in place it’s important for studios (and the lessons are applicable to all companies, regardless of business area) to provide a resource for high-quality materials bloggers and other Web site runners can use on their sites. Without that sort of repository, I’m more or less forced to go somewhere like Yahoo! Movies to find stills that I can download and use on my site. Oh sure, the movie’s official Web site has stills, but they’re usually not downloadable. So, if I want to use them I have to do a copy/paste of the whole screen and crop the picture I’m trying to use. Cumbersome doesn’t begin to describe it.
So I was pleasantly surprised (for the most part) with the new Previews site (http://previews.sonypicturespublicity.com/) launched by Sony Pictures. The site is essentially on online pressroom that provides assets for eight of the studio’s films that are hitting screens between now and the end of the year. That includes Across the Universe, the third Resident Evil movie and the vampire flick 30 Days of Night.
Each movie’s section contains general information such as a synopsis, rating, cast and crew list and other basic stuff. There is also some good downloadable stuff like posters and corporate logos as well as an array of still photos. The trailer or trailers are also on the site but are not, unfortunately, downloadable or embeddable as a video on YouTube would be.
The biggest missing component, though, is an RSS feed for updates. I might be in the minority of users but just about my entire media consumption comes from RSS, with a smattering of e-mail thrown in there. It’s how things enter my world. RSS reading has saved a ton of time for me and sites without it have dropped almost completely off my radar.
This is exactly the sort of one-stop shop for movie collateral studios should be creating. But without a way to alert people to the presence of new materials—assuming they continue to update it—it’s not as valuable as it could or should be. The whole point of publicity I’m pretty sure is to make people aware of new content. RSS feeds are a great low-cost way to do that.
Without some sort of automated alert system in place, all that’s left is for me and others to keep hitting the site every day in the hopes that new material has arrived. That’s extraordinarily inefficient and not something I’m likely to do. Better Sony should let me know that there’s new stuff there, increasingly the likelihood I’ll write about it and spread the word about their movie. That, again, is sort of the point.