It might be an honor just to be nominated for an Academy Award, but when it comes to the bottom line, a nomination can be even better than a win – both for movie studios and for L.A. advertising.

Oscar nominations can mean big ad revenue for print publications, websites, billboard companies, radio stations, and other advertising vehicles as studios look to influence Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members and ride their films’ acclaim to greater ticket sales.

But how entertainment companies promote their movies is changing as they increasingly look to social media marketing to reinforce their Oscar drives.

“Social media has proven to be extremely effective with a much lower spend,” said show-business industry watcher Ira Kalb, an associate professor of marketing at USC and a 45-year marketing consultant. “I see more of a trend in that in the future.”

That doesn’t mean social media will overshadow the call for traditional advertising, though, particularly in Los Angeles, the epicenter of the movie business, he said.

“I wouldn’t say (social media) is cutting into it,” Kalb said.

The stakes are high for both the studios and media that sell the ads.

Films nominated in major categories can add an average of $13 million to box-office income, said Kalb, citing data from market research company IBISWorld and other sources. Winners might add an additional $1 million to that haul.

Depending on a movie’s budget and studio resources, anywhere from $1 million to $15 million could be spent on an Oscar campaign over several months. A page-one ad in The Hollywood Reporter during awards season cost a reported $72,000 in 2015.

Final push

The period between the nominations, which were announced last week, and the Academy Awards ceremony Feb. 28 provides one more opportunity to promote the films.

Nowhere is the congratulatory practice as intense as in Los Angeles, where display ads in The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Los Angeles Times as well as on industry websites such as The Wrap and Deadline might start popping up within days of the announcement of nominees.

Marc Becker, chief executive of brand-focused Glendale firm the Tangent Agency, said traditional industry trade publications are adding social, digital, and experiential campaigns while maintaining the traditional one-sheet advertisement.

While Tangent is more involved in branding and marketing movies prior to awards season, Becker said major studios often create in house, or outsource to a vendor, several layered versions of display ads, allowing room to drop in the number and categories of a film’s nominations quickly after they are announced.


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