Continued Box Office Slide Causes Marketing Shift

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Film execs seek online communities to reach audiences.

The decline in box office ticket sales continued this weekend with the top ten films generating 4% less than in the same period last year. As theaters struggle to attract and retain audiences, filmmakers are left with the additional responsibility of creatively promoting projects to recoup production costs.

“There seems to be a real disconnect using traditional mediums to reach movie-going audiences,” says producer Tom Yadkin. 'We're shifting from what was once a mix of online and traditional media for promotion, to predominantly promoting online to build recognition of projects. Using sites like http://www.MySpace.com, http://www.Locist.com, and http://www.Xanga.com are great tools to build buzz and don't beat up your bottom line.'

Yadkin continues by saying, “Using online communities to create buzz is shifting from a viable option to a necessity. A site like Locist is very attractive to us as producers because their base is filmmakers, actors and fans. It's a direct connection to the audience we need to reach.”

As ticket sales continue to slide, the jury is still out as to exactly how the film industry model is going to right its once impervious ship. What is increasingly evident to producers and studios today is that embracing community sites like Locist and MySpace for promotion can cut the production budget and give films a better chance at profitability.

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Brad Hinely
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