Boston University in LA

Multiplatform Entertainment Marketing (2015)

COM 505, 3 Credits

Course Description

Forget the rules. Consider new definitions. Explore new paths. Challenge conventional wisdom. Find new ways to reach and entertain audiences – anywhere, anytime, across all devices now known or in the future.

Welcome to Multiplatform Entertainment Marketing, a course that surveys entertainment and marketing as multi-platform and intertwined pursuits.  During the semester, you will be guided by faculty, informed by guest experts, and driven by your own interests, projects and research.

After some 20 transformational years, the media and entertainment Industries of today are vastly different.  The Internet and digital technology have profoundly altered how entertainment is created, distributed and consumed. It is turning business models upside down.  Indeed, it has changed entertainment itself.

Amidst this upheaval, audiences are consuming more content in new, exciting and sometimes (to the traditional mindset) counterintuitive ways. It has never been more challenging to attract and maintain an audience.

This semester, we will explore the landscape of media, entertainment and marketing as it is today and where we think it is going.  We’ll examine the relationship between media, entertainment and consumer brands and how their roles may be shifting.  The course covers product and content development, paying careful attention to intended customers or audience.  How and where do they consume entertainment?  How do platforms change the entertainment experience and how do creative producers optimize both their content and marketing for different platforms?

Course Syllabus

Week 1 – Tuesday, January 19

Introduction to the Entertainment Marketing Landscape

This week we examine the entertainment industry with an emphasis on structure, segments, ownership, and media consolidation.  In this context, we look at the role and value of various aspects of entertainment marketing and their importance to the other operating areas of entertainment companies.

How does the industry reinvent itself to survive and thrive? Where does marketing end and revenue generation begin? What specific adjustments do the creative and business sides of legacy platforms such as television and feature films make at a time of disruptive change, caused by fractionalization, digital technology, and threats to proven business models?

We will also seek to fill in the blank for the provocative question: “Content and ____ are King?”

Assignment for NEXT week:  Prepare and deliver a maximum 45 second “elevator pitch” on your thesis project.

Week 2 – Tuesday, January 26

Design Thinking, Marketing and Product Development

What is Design Thinking? How does it inform product development and Multiplatform Marketing? Focus on content strategies brands employ today and the key platforms leveraged for each.  How are creative and strategic teams composed and structured?  We will have a discussion on the best practices and marketing complexities of mobile, digital and TV platforms today.  What’s the user experience across devices and how does this change by the content of what we are watching / playing?

This session will also introduce budgeting and planning concepts as an essential element of a business plan, comparing and contrasting similarities and differences between entertainment and non-entertainment enterprises as well as B2B and B2C.

Week 3 – Tuesday, February 2

The Magic of Uniqueness

Campaigns are only effective when there is a complete understanding of the audience and the unique selling proposition to which they will respond.  How do you determine demographic segments, define and select target components; What is your magic – what makes your product unique or how can it be presented so that its unique quality can be recognized. We provide an overview of research techniques from concept testing to tracking awareness.  Importance of research in planning and executing effective campaigns; Connecting the targeting with the proper positioning. Forecasting. The emergence of Big Data and analytics.

Guest Speaker: John Calkins, CEO Row8

Assignment (due this week):  Find an article (blog post) on marketing research or demographic trends, particularly related to Generation Z and/or Millennials. Send to Professor by noon (the day of this class) and be prepared to discuss the content of your chosen article.

Week 4 – Monday, February 9

Creative Development

The basic elements of developing creative for marketing entertainment product.  How are movie trailers, television promos, commercials, print ads and other forms of creative developed?  What is the thinking process required to build compelling creative that will drive audience engagement?  Functions of editing, writing, producing, music, voice-over and graphics are discussed.  Examples of what works and what doesn’t.

Branding & Design – cable television introduced the notion of a television “brand” with specific programming directed at targeted audiences.  This class examines how digital, mobile, cable and broadcast networks as well as studios and service providers use branding to develop loyal audiences and drive sampling of their programming.  Brand campaigns can heighten awareness for a channel and will be studied in this class as well, in addition to how these brands have extended to media platforms beyond traditional television.  How design is an integral part of the marketing process and how it works within the industry.

For The Class this Week – look at the creative advertising for a movie or television program that has been released in the past three months or is due for release/broadcast in the next three months.   Bring examples of their advertising materials to class, either physically or digitally.  Let’s look at some trailers – your choice. Come to class with the URL of your favorite and we’ll spend some time looking at and critiquing. 

Week 5 – Tuesday, February 16

The Platforms

Entertainment everywhere!  Emerging platforms and technology create new opportunities. OTT, mobile, cable, broadcast, Internet, location-based, games, VR, traditional, and non-traditional. We will share observations and awareness of emerging tech and how we believe they may impact entertainment and its marketing.

Guest Speaker: Brian Seth Hurst, CEO, Opportunity Management

Week 6 – Tuesday, February 23

Media Strategy and the Multi-Platform Landscape

This class focuses on how to harness media resources and budgets to effectively and efficiently articulate a marketing campaign and communicate promotional messages.  Understanding the use of key media platforms –  including broadcast, cable, print, outdoor, radio, web, mobile, search and social media.  How to understand effective media planning and creating the appropriate media mix to reach the target audience.  Understanding the role of the media planning/buying agency.  How to measure effectiveness.  Integrating the message through multiple platforms.  How media works with “creative” to generate more impact.

Presentation skills are vital to success.  Class will include the first of two coaching segments on How to be an Effective Presenter. – Part 1.

Week 7 – Tuesday, March 1

Social Media

To no one’s surprise, Social Media is a vital element of all marketing efforts. It has become a critical tool to build a direct relationship with consumers. Yet there are many challenges to overcome whether you are using YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Periscope or the many others. How can you navigate this evolving platform to effectively bring an entertainment property to market?  What has worked? What lessons have been learned? Bring examples of your favorite successes and failures.

Guest Speaker: David Bloom, Founder, Words & Deeds

Assignment: Based on class discussion, experience and your own project, develop a social media strategy and campaign using at least one social media platform.  Include a defined strategy, timeline, and creative elements. (Due: March 22)

Week 8 – Tuesday, March 15

What Is Content?

To effectively market content, you have to understand content. Historically, content has been defined by either its length (:30/:60/1:20) or its platform (television series, MOW, theatrical movie). Today, content can be any length and produced for every platform simultaneously. The foundation of good storytelling remains intact, but everything else has changed. This session we will be joined by guest speakers to examine various forms of content as well as the marketing tools used to build awareness.

Guest Speaker: Curt Marvis, President, TheQ You

Week 9 – Tuesday, March 22

Brand Sponsors, Integrations, Partnerships and Advertiser Promotions

Product integration and promotional partnerships are changing business models and creative execution within programming and the marketing of such.  This class will examine unique and emerging partnership techniques that create promotional relationships between advertisers, producers and distributors.  How can partnerships generate incremental revenue, extend marketing reach and reinvent the marketing model? We’ll analyze real promotional concepts to determine the overall value to the partners involved and the audience itself.

Week 10 – Tuesday, March 29

Multi-platform to the Core

Whether you are producing content (i.e.: Star Wars or The Pretender) or selling consumer products (like Red Bull or GoPro), there has been a material shift to turn brands into multi-platform businesses. Transmedia or, really more accurately, omni-media, is one of the driving forces. The result has been an upending of many traditional marketing methodologies. In this session we’ll look at different strategies and techniques available to savvy marketers that can help you turn a single idea into a strategy greater than the sum of its parts.

The second of two coaching segments on presentation skills: How to be an effective presenter – Part 2

Guest Speaker: Mike Vorhaus, President, Magid Advisors

Week 11 – Tuesday, April 5

Virtual Reality: More Than a Game

2016 is touted as “The Year of VR.”  Is it an emerging platform for new experiences and marketing engagement or the latest passing fad?  As content creators explore this new platform, they are developing a whole new vocabulary for visual storytelling.  A number of games will come to market but this is just the beginning.  Marketers, both for entertainment and consumer products, have been early adopters as they create unique experiences designed to engage audiences and drive interest in brands, products, movies and television.  What are the prospects?  The potential?  First hand experience for the class with VR technology and expert filmmakers.

Guest Speaker: Russell Naftal, Founder, Beast Media Group

Week 12 – Tuesday, April 12

In Real Time: Event

Live events, event television, and blockbusters create an immediacy and real-time reality tailored for multiplatform content marketing. How are these platforms evolving with or competing with major new digital distribution platforms?  Live, physical interaction is changing with new technologies like VR.  Lecture / guest speaker and class discussion on the power and role of TV and live events in marketing strategy.  The Academy Awards, which take place at the end of February, will be referenced as an example of multiplatform entertainment and the value of live events.

Collaborative/class ideation:  Target wants to create a seasonal thematic uniting their various celebrity designers and products across all areas of their store.  What types of content would you create and how would you program it for maximum impact with customers in the stores, online and through the app?  Prep, pitch and discuss.

Week 13– Tuesday, April 19

Final Individual Presentations

Each student will present to the class a 5-minute summary of the marketing plan for their Media Venture project. In addition, they will hand in the complete plan (in PDF format) as described on page two of this syllabus as their final exam. The oral presentation will be graded on its own merit.  As in the real world, the oral assignment is how you would present your campaign in a meeting – where the time is limited and you need to sell your thought leadership.

#           #           #