Study: Entertainment Firms Need to Allocate More Money to Search

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Entertainment companies are not spending enough of their marketing budget on online ads, according to a study released by Google Inc. and MarketCast.

The study, "The Internet and Moviegoing: A Benchmark Study on Influences and Opportunities," notes that given the Internet's important role in the decision-making process of moviegoers, entertainment companies need to put more into their online marketing campaigns.

"The key finding of this research is that there is a disparity between the influence of the Internet on consumers' moviegoing decisions and the amount of marketing money spent there," said David Fleck, Google's industry marketing manager for media and entertainment. "In the research, 17 percent of respondents named the Internet as the most influential media in their decision to see a movie. However, only 2.6 percent of studio budgets are currently spent online."

MarketCast surveyed about 2,100 moviegoers ages 13-49 over the telephone and Internet. These individuals claim television advertising, trailers and word-of-mouth are the most important sources of first awareness, or the first time a person hears of a movie. During the period in which consumers learn more about movies, the Internet plays an enormous role.

Forty-nine percent of moviegoers research a movie after first hearing about it; and of these, seven in 10 do so on the Internet.

About half of the moviegoers use the Internet to find movie schedules and theater locations. Eighteen percent use newspaper listings, and one-third of these individuals were found to be older than 35.

More than 33 percent of information seekers and 7 percent of traditional moviegoers say the Internet is most influential on their decision to see a movie. On the other hand, less than half of general movie information seekers say television is most important, versus 70 percent of traditional moviegoers.

"Until recently, many marketers have used the Internet as an experimental marketing platform," Mr. Fleck said. "Now, marketers realize it is an integral part of the marketing mix.

"The experimentation now is what percentage of the budget to allocate to online," he said. "We believe the marketers with whom we help solve this challenge will be at a distinct advantage versus their competitors."

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