How do you connect with busy, nearly-impossible-to-reach film and television professionals around the world? With West Webcast Essentials, of course.
Variety 411, part of the Variety magazine family, presents a bi-monthly webcast series to inform film and television producers about financial incentives offered by state and local film commissions and international territories. Financial incentives can strongly influence where a producer chooses to shoot a film.
Webcast Essentials gives Variety 411 and its programming partner, Entertainment Partners, the flexibility to produce bimonthly webcasts reliably and cost-effectively, as well as capture the excitement of major film festivals and other special events with onsite video webcasts, to engage busy film executives.
Variety 411 marketing manager Marjorie Galas suggested the webcast series, which provides film producers and commissioners unique opportunities to interact, leverages the team’s connections and thought leadership to present the latest information and special opportunities, and helps Variety 411 stay visible with its target audiences.
“These events grew organically out of our business, which is providing information on essential resources to the film and television production community,” Ms. Galas said. “Webcast Essentials gives us the tools to expand the value we provide by bringing information directly to the people who use it. From a marketing perspective, our webcasts give us permission to stay in touch with our customers throughout the year. It’s a winning situation for everyone.”
Average virtual attendance is 300 to 500 people, and an additional 100 or so view each archived event. Most are from New York or Los Angeles, but attendees have come from Australia, England, Germany and Canada as well as other states. The live events, which originate from Variety 411’s Los Angeles offices, are open, free of charge, to anyone who wants to attend in person.
MULTIPLE OPTIONS FOR MULTIPLE AUDIENCES
The team uses Webcast Essential’s self-service version for its regular, bi-monthly webcasts. Affordability and ease of use make self-service ideal for everyday webcasting. They easily build landing and registration pages using the microsite wizard. They use the interactive capabilities to capture all questions and answers, which are sent attendees after the session.
Variety 411 takes advantage of opportunities like Cannes and Sundance film festivals to bring together high-profile industry leaders who are rarely available, raising Variety 411’s profile and prestige as it provides unique value to the film community.
At Sundance they highlighted four movies that were featured in the festival, presenting the producers and film commissioners from the states where the movies were shot. When webcasting live from events, they use Webcast Pro’s white glove managed service to handle all the webcast details and West’s Event Services to manage production. This leaves the team free to focus on content.
Each webcast requires about two months to organize and one month to promote. Panels range from four to seven speakers and have included film commissions, producers, attorneys, tax specialists and others involved in production incentives. When developing the program, the planners make sure to “mix it up,” pairing a tax specialist with a film commissioner, for example, to keep the conversation lively.
One of the most difficult aspects of both planning and execution is speakers often aren’t able to confirm until the last minute, and some cancel with little notice. Although they nail down as many details as possible, the team has to remain flexible.
Variety 411 knows presenting relevant topics and speakers is essential to attracting attendees so they incorporate new ideas and perspectives while keeping the content topical and focused. During the 2010 awards season the webcast featured the producers of four of the year’s key films (The Social Network, Black Swan, True Grit and The King’s Speech).
Rather than holding questions until the end, attendees and speakers use the Q&A function to interact throughout the program, allowing attendees to actively participate and drill down on the information they’re interested in. The busy executives who are Variety 411’s target audience won’t spend time on activities that don’t add value that is immediate and accessible, but they’ve proven they will engage when offered the right content and experience.
- The Variety 411 team follows best practices to ensure their webcasts are successful, and their results to show it.
- Use West's multiple webcasting options to take full advantage of all opportunities
- Offer solid, targeted content and speakers to attract hard to reach audiences
- Promote aggressively— their promotion schedule begins four weeks out and they leverage their partners to promote
- Employ interactive capabilities to engage attendees
- Use detailed metrics to be smarter about audiences
- Follow up with and offer value to all registrants, whether or not they attended
- Offer the webcast on demand for those who couldn’t attend
Variety 411 is a small magazine that has created a big presence. The publishing industry has suffered in recent years but Variety 411 has increased its relevance and strengthened its relationship with target audiences by applying new tools, leveraging resources and working smarter.
“Our target audience is busy film executives. Whether we’re webcasting from our Los Angeles conference room or streaming live video from Cannes Film Festival, Webcast Essentials and Webcast Pro give us the flexibility to connect with this hard to reach group.”
Marjorie Galas Marketing Manager Variety 411