The end of 2022 brought a ton of scrutiny to the revenue models of streamers across the entertainment landscape, not to mention traditional linear channels. Belt-tightening at both media makers will continue beyond the layoffs that have been in the news the last few weeks. I think 2023 will see another trend, too, toward more editorial-based trailers as opposed to shoot-based creative for the launch of television series for both streamers and linear channels.
From Netflix to Amazon Prime to Paramount+ to Peacock to Apple to Disney+, we’ve seen streamers lead the charge on prioritizing trailers for launches of their new series. This is also happening at traditional linear channels, too, who traditionally used shoot-based spots for teases and launches (in addition to trailers). I think it serves two functions.
One shot to surprise & delight
I think content creators feel they have precious little time to connect with viewers. Time they don’t want to waste with an approach that creates a layer of content – a bit, or setup in a shoot spot – between the viewer and the streamer/channel. They want to show off the actual footage as much as they can, to create a connection, much the way it’s done in movie theatrical releases and depend less on tease campaigns or launch campaigns that feature ancillary shoot material. It’s about sampling content without creating distance with viewers.
Smaller budgets overall
The networks and streamers have consolidated their companies and in the wake of those business moves, their overall marketing budgets have been cut. For many years, traditional linear channels had multiple and discrete “sells,” which yielded trailers, shoot spots and many different ad units against each launch, in the hopes of reaching different viewer demographics. Now, with budgets trimmed, we think trailers, as opposed to more costly shoot spots, will continue to be the main creative staple, as there are fewer ad units devoted to launch campaigns.
In the end, we’re here to realize our clients’ visions. And we’ve found the earlier they bring us in as partners the farther their resources go. My hope is we see more variation in 2023. Much like the pandemic put our backs against the wall, the current (and foreseeable) economic climate can do the same. Now is the time to inspire audiences, innovate with resources within reach and reimagine advertising and entertainment.
Louis Venezia is the CEO/CCO of Pilot (www.pilotnyc.com), a media consultancy. Pilot operates in New York and Los Angeles as a branding agency and production company. Entertainment clients include FX, USA, AMC, TBS, Nick Jr., CMT, Travel Channel, Sundance, Amazon Studios, Food Network, Comedy Central, MTV. Corporate clients include Instagram, Spotify, JP Morgan Bank, Yahoo Finance, Nielsen. Venezia also runs CoPilot Pictures, a content and long form production company, where he’s served as an executive producer on feature-length documentaries.