Video streaming has become an incredibly popular way for consumers to access entertainment and information online. With the rise of platforms like YouTube, Netflix, and social media, video content can attract and engage massive audiences across devices. For cinemas, video streaming presents a major opportunity to promote films, connect with moviegoers, and grow their brand in the digital era.
Today's audiences, especially younger demographics like Gen Z who grew up online, expect an omnichannel experience when engaging with brands. Cinemas that don't adapt their marketing and embrace video streaming risk losing mindshare and falling behind competitors. By leveraging streaming effectively, cinemas can showcase trailers, host Q&As with filmmakers, provide exclusive extra content like bloopers or bonus scenes, and boost social media presence. This allows them to augment traditional advertising and drive greater interest in upcoming film releases.
This article will provide an overview of video streaming and how it can be utilized for cinema marketing and audience engagement. We'll explore the various streaming platforms, types of video content, optimization best practices, and real-world examples of cinemas successfully employing streaming. By the end, you'll have actionable tips to develop an effective video strategy that promotes your films, engages fans, and takes your cinema's brand to the next level.
Overview of Video Streaming
Before diving into streaming for cinemas, let's first cover some streaming basics.
What is Video Streaming?
Video streaming refers to the delivery of video content over the internet in real-time. Instead of downloading a file to watch later, streams are viewable as the data arrives. Popular streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime allow on-demand access to millions of videos.
How Video Streaming Works
Streaming utilizes adaptive bitrate streaming and content delivery networks (CDNs) to provide an optimized viewing experience. Video files are encoded at different quality levels, then the player automatically adjusts based on the user's device, bandwidth, and network conditions. This prevents buffering and stalling, enabling smooth playback. CDNs store content on servers across global locations, routing viewers to the nearest edge server for faster streaming.
Benefits of Video Streaming
- On-demand access - Viewers can watch videos whenever they want.
- Mobile friendly - Streaming works across devices from phones to smart TVs.
- Scalability - Streaming services can easily accommodate growing demand.
- Lower cost - No need for physical tapes or discs like traditional media.
Streaming Use Cases
Video streaming is ubiquitous across industries and use cases like:
- Entertainment - Movies, shows, music videos, etc.
- Marketing - Promos, trailers, behind-the-scenes, tutorials
- Corporate Communications - Company updates, training videos, presentations
- Education - Online courses, how-to lessons, lectures
- Gaming - Live broadcasts of gameplay and eSports tournaments
- News - Breaking stories, live events, interviews
Types of Video Streaming
There are a few fundamental categories of video streaming:
- Live streaming - Video is broadcast in real-time without any delay as events unfold. This is utilized for live news, sports, concerts, and more.
- On-demand streaming - Pre-recorded video content is uploaded and available for viewers to access at any time. Most streaming platforms like Netflix provide on-demand libraries.
- Peer-to-peer (P2P) streaming - Instead of streaming from a centralized server, viewers connect directly and share video data between one another to reduce server costs. However, latency can be higher.
Video Streaming Metrics
When analyzing streaming initiatives, key metrics to track include:
- Concurrent streams - The number of simultaneous streams at any given time. Indicates traffic levels.
- Starts - The number of times a video begins playing. Shows interest.
- Completes - How many times a video is watched to the end. Measures engagement.
- Engagement - Total time spent watching or average view duration per viewer.
- Conversions - Any desired actions taken after watching like sales, signups, votes, etc.
Video Streaming for Cinema Marketing
Now let's explore how cinemas can tap into streaming to promote films, engage audiences, and build their brand.
Video streaming presents cinemas with direct pipelines to massive, ready-made audiences of potential moviegoers. Streaming trailers, teasers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage is a proven way to generate buzz and drive interest in upcoming releases.
- Trailers and previews - Give fans an enticing first look and build anticipation.
- Behind-the-scenes - Provide a "making of" peek at productions to engage superfans.
- Promos and ads - Run spots ahead of or even during films in theaters.
- Contests/giveaways - Encourage social sharing and reactions with prizes.
- Live Q&As - Host streaming chats with directors, actors, and crew.
- Sneak peeks - Reward loyal fans with exclusives like early access.
- Branded content - Showcase cinema locations, amenities, concessions, etc.
AMC Theatres saw great success promoting Top Gun: Maverick by uploading trailers and exclusive content to YouTube. This generated viral buzz among fans eager for the long-awaited sequel.
Building the Brand
Beyond specific films, cinemas can also produce original streaming content that engages audiences while strengthening their brand identity and community.
- Share film-related content - Reviews, theories, mashups, commentary, etc.
- Stream events - Concerts, comedy shows, talks, classes, and other happenings at cinemas.
- Showcase creators - Give filmmakers, critics, and influencers a platform to build a following.
- Humanize through live streaming - Let fans directly interact with hosts, stars, and cinema reps.
- Build loyal membership - Provide special perks and exclusives for subscribers.
- Respond to trends - Weigh in on pop culture moments and connect with what's popular.
Alamo Drafthouse uses Instagram Reels and TikTok to showcase their unique cinema experiences beyond just movies, like themed menus, events, and more. This content performs well and gets shared.
Video Content Types
Cinemas can pull from a diverse range of streaming content formats to support campaigns:
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Cast interviews
- Fan reactions and reviews
- Filmmaker Q&As
- Animated explainers
- Movie mashups
- Commentary and theories
- Film location tours
- Cosplay/fan art
- Film-inspired classes
For example, movie trailer reaction and review videos are extremely popular on YouTube. Cinemas could collaborate with reviewers to premiere new trailers on their channels.
Major platforms cinemas should have a presence on include:
- YouTube - The king of online video. Huge reach and engagement.
- Facebook Video - Leverage News Feed and built-in audience.
- Instagram Reels - Vertical short-form video perfect for mobile users.
- TikTok - Reach younger demographics where they are.
- Twitch - Live stream events and engage gaming/pop culture fans.
- Vimeo - Quality and control focused streaming.
- Brightcove - Powerful enterprise video platform.
- Kaltura - Feature-packed OVP for video management.
- JW Player - Video hosting with monetization tools.
Regal Cinemas amplifies trailers on YouTube and Instagram, while also having success engaging younger audiences on TikTok.
Optimizing Video Streaming
To maximize streaming success, cinemas should follow best practices around delivery, metadata, and promotion.
- Produce quality video - Invest in compelling content that performs based on data insights. Use high-end equipment and leverage experienced videographers and editors.
- Enable adaptive bitrates - Automatically adjust quality for optimal playback.
- Leverage CDNs - Use distributed edge servers to reduce buffering.
- Optimize for devices - Test streams on all key platforms and screens. Mobile optimization is critical.
- Implement analytics - Identify issues impacting performance and engagement. YouTube Analytics and social media insights are invaluable.
- Monitor streams - Track in real-time and quickly resolve problems.
- Analyze metrics - Review starts, completes, time watched, conversions, etc. Assess what content resonates.
Metadata Best Practices
Properly tagging and structuring video metadata improves discoverability, accessibility, and conversions.
- Optimize titles/descriptions - Include keywords and details that help surface content.
- Add closed captions - Make streams accessible and boost SEO.
- Provide thumbnails - Custom preview images entice clicking and sharing.
- Include end screens/cards - Link to desired conversion actions.
- Classify videos - Help users and algorithms understand the content.
- Link to website - Drive traffic back to cinema's site and sales.
Getting eyeballs on new video content requires an amplification strategy across channels:
- Leverage owned channels - Email, website, social media, mobile apps, etc.
- Run video ads - Promote on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok.
- Utilize internal platform tools - Playlists, homepages, notifications, etc.
- Cross-promote - Feature videos within other videos.
- Strategically link - Embed, share, and place videos throughout online assets.
- Incentivize social sharing - Contests and exclusives that reward spreading the word.
Video Streaming Solutions for Cinemas
Here are some real-world examples of how cinemas can implement video streaming:
- YouTube channel - Central hub for trailers, exclusive clips, cast interviews, fan reactions, and more. Allows global reach and two-way engagement via comments.
- Facebook/Instagram video ads - Run trailers and promotions to target key demographics where they stream most.
- Live Q&As on social - Host directors, actors, and other film talent for AMA-style chats with fans.
- Multi-platform trailer premieres - Coordinate global launch of trailers across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, and cinema websites. Amplify with influencers.
- TikTok channel - Produce fun, engaging short videos leveraging trends, sounds, challenges, etc. Lower barrier for fan-generated content.
- Website video gallery - Curate and showcase trailers, clips, cast interviews, behind-the-scenes exclusives. Boost SEO.
- Mobile app video - Add streaming library for loyalty members with custom film content and perks.
- OTT/VOD platform - Launch dedicated streaming service for indie films and film festival premieres. Monetize with subscriptions or rentals.
- Optimized cinema site streaming - Utilize Brightcove, Kaltura or other video-focused CMS integrations for seamless playback.
- Video marketing platform - Centralize video assets and analyze engagement with solutions like Wistia or Vzaar.
For example, Landmark Theatres drives website traffic and ticket sales by hosting exclusive cast interviews and behind-the-scenes footage on their Brightcove video platform.
Video streaming presents an immense opportunity for cinemas to amplify marketing, engage audiences, and build their brand. Key conclusions include:
- Video content like trailers and exclusives engages audiences and promotes films.
- Numerous streaming platforms cater to different audience segments and content strategies.
- Focus on producing quality, cinema brand-aligned video content optimized for devices.
- Track streaming metrics like completions and conversions to identify successes and improvement opportunities.
- Embrace platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to reach younger demos.
- With the right platform, content, and promotion strategy, video streaming can help grow audiences and ticket sales.
Video streaming allows cinemas to meet audiences where they are already consuming content. By fully embracing streaming, cinemas can deepen moviegoer engagement, promote showings, and build lasting brand affinity.
Ready to take your cinema's marketing and engagement to the next level through video streaming? The custom mobile apps, loyalty programs, and other solutions from Filmgrail make it easy to produce and distribute streaming content while gathering powerful analytics to identify what resonates most with your audience.