Did Twitter Kill the Official Website?
So, when was the last time you saw an official website address for a movie? and when was the last time you saw a movie website address and felt obliged to type it in to your smart phone or web browser?
A long while ago. It wasn’t long ago that you had to have an official website to ensure you weren’t cast adrift from the ever changing marketing world. Nowadays, it is social media that is controlling the flow of information, static websites are so 1999. Film studios and independent film makers have realised that social media is the driving force behind any marketing campaign.
Back in the day an official website used to consist of a logo, a synopsis, a few grainy 640×480-pixel images that would display some kind of gallery, a bit of a bio about the cast and crew and, if the website was feeling adventurous, throw in a trailer or two that stuttered as it attempted to buffer on a 256kb ADSL modem. However, if you followed this clear protocol … voila, congratulations you have mastered film marketing 101.
So, how has this changed? Well, you now must have a well-liked facebook page, a dedicated band of twitter and Instagram followers, a YouTube channel behind the scenes content, and a tumbler page that is full of animated GIFS.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples. Take the 2017 “Christmas” film, Bad Moms Christmas. This has a FB liking of (as of 21/11/17) 6,491 and also 6,548 users who follow the page. The official Justice League page has 2,505,929 likes and 2,506,852 followers. The pages are awash with dynamic content from official sources and create users who constantly share memes and fan-art. A #hashtag can do so much in the promotion of a film.
There just doesn’t seem to place for an official website anymore.
So you want to see what the film is about? Well, head over to IMDB.com for the synopsis. A trailer? Head over to YouTube. Not only will there be plenty of them, but there will also be dedicated fan reactions to all of the videos that have been uploaded; multiple times. Ah, what about wallpapers or HD images? … Yup, you guessed it – the audience will have probably already Googled that!
Although archaic websites still exist, they tend to be linked to an official Facebook or Tumblr page. For example: JustGetHorizontal.com was the website address for the film “That awkward moment”. However, it seems that studios have forgotten that they still pay domain and hosting fees and you can still find old, fossilised film sites in the virtual world. How exciting!
Check out 1999’s ‘Wild Wild Wes’t film at http://wildwildwest.warnerbros.com/cmp/frameset.html or even 1996’s ‘Space Jam’ site at: https://www.warnerbros.com/archive/spacejam/movie/jam.htm and what about ‘You’ve Got Mail’ at http://youvegotmail.warnerbros.com/cmp/0frameset.html
So all we need to do now is to wait another 20 years, to look back and laugh at La La Land’s animated, zoomy GIFS, the ability to download stickers for your brick sized smartphone and reminisce at how we all sang along to the sing along gallery of music.
All this may be fun, but it could come at a price. This social driven ‘network’ brings with it the ability for audiences critique a film on release day. It could be a sit on the Friday but have sunk by Saturday.
Picture this – you are really excited to watch a film – you’ve been waiting ages to see this. You can’t make the opening day and will have to wait 3 days for the opening. However, you open Twitter and see a barrage of Tweets suggesting that the film is a “waste of money”, #BelowExpectations or #BLURAYrelease. You are no longer interested in seeing it.
Positive Word of Mouth (WOM) is key. The City of London have recently conducted research that discusses this Twitter effect. The research showed that while positive Word of Mouth outnumber negative tweets, people automatically gave more importance to the negative Tweets. As further evidence, the researchers surveyed 1,489 users of Twitter. They identified over 600 users to decided not to go and see the film due to particular negative message and response on the Twitter platform.
Although film makers and studios may not be able to influence the types of Tweets that are sent. It would be possible, for example, to suggest that if a film was not expected to be well received that the studios stay clear from engaging in using Twitter.
So the next time you decide not to watch a film, due to a negative reaction on Twitter, you have the Twitter effect to thank. However, it really is important to make your own mind up on things and form your own opinion on the movies that you see.
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This post was written by noxford