Web Marketing Strategy & Site Plan The Screening Room

Prepared For: David Colburn

Prepared By: Charles Johnston

MCOM 30

Friday, April 11, 2008

Table of Contents

CREATIVE BRIEF...................................................................................................................................... 2 CLIENT INTERVIEW DETAILS.............................................................................................................. 3 PREVIOUS AND ONGOING MARKETING AND ADVERTISING EFFORTS................................. 3 TARGET MARKETS .................................................................................................................................. 4 STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS (SWOT) .................................. 6 SITE ARCHITECTURE ............................................................................................................................. 9 SITE NAVIGATION.................................................................................................................................. 12 DETAILED OBJECTIVES IN RELATION TO SITE ARCHITECTURE ......................................... 13 DESIGN ELEMENTS................................................................................................................................ 15 DRIVING TRAFFIC TO THE WEBSITE AND ADDITIONAL MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS ............................................................................................................................... 17 WEBSITE EVALUATION........................................................................................................................ 19 CLOSING SUMMARY ............................................................................................................................. 19

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Creative Brief
resently, The Screening Room is best described as Kingston’s third choice in cinemas, behind the Empire Theatre on Princess Street and the Cineplex Odeon on Gardiners Road. Despite being the city’s best venue for international, independent and cult films, the Screening Room fails to be a true entertainment destination. Terry Laffier has owned the Screening Room for 11 years. I met her before she opened on the afternoon of Thursday, March 27th. We had a long discussion about the business, and she informed me, among other things, that her biggest loss in attendance over the past four years has been among students seeing late shows. Most of this loss, she feels, can be credited to students illegally viewing and downloading movies from online sources rather than seeing movies in theatres. Ironically, the Screening Room has a great package for Kingston’s young, academic, hipster crowd. It’s a small, downtown facility, and it offers fair admission prices, a snack bar and a timeworn, unpretentious theatre atmosphere. An examination of the current Screening Room business model revealed that although the business is positioned well in a potentially lucrative market niche, the business is struggling with brand awareness and lacks a frequent and resonant advertising message. Most notably, what the Screening Room lacks is a useful marketing solution through the internet – a medium that carries significant weight among desired target markets. An informative and intuitive website will attract new customers to the cinema, and allow the business to effectively compete with its larger competitors in the city. An up-to-date web solution will make the business more accessible to key target markets in Kingston, while reinforcing the Screening Room brand among these desired consumer segments and subsequently improving nightly attendance. Specific objectives of a Screening Room website would include: • • • Providing show times, admission prices, currently running titles, as well as teaser information about films that are coming soon for a consumer segment who increasingly relies on the internet for all pre-purchase buying information Developing and nurturing a Screening Room community by providing a forum and information hub for film enthusiasts in Kingston and surrounding area and a user rating and review system for current and upcoming films Building on the Screening Room’s brand and reinforcing the business’s niche market

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Client Interview Details
Other subjects Terry and I covered during our discussion included: • • • • Previous advertising and promotional initiatives; including some print, database marketing, and web advertising The target market(s) Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) facing the Screening Room Current trends in the movie industry, including the most consistently popular film genres featured at the Screening Room

Previous and Ongoing Marketing and Advertising Efforts
• Weekly Email Newsletter (Database Marketing) o The Screening Room currently has a house list consisting of over threethousand email addresses In some cases the customer name is known as well, but is not mandatory o A coupon is included at the bottom of the newsletter (encouraging the customer to read it), which offers a admission for two adults for the cost of one, on Monday nights only Queen’s Journal (Print) o Quarter-page print ad featuring a coupon for free popcorn with purchase of admission – not a single coupon was ever redeemed o Typically ran twice a year at most at a cost of $100 Ad was poorly produced, scaled out of proportion and illegible – when the publication was contacted about the problem no resolution was ever agreed upon. Phone calls were never returned Campus Kings (Web) o A page was created for the Screening Room at a cost of $100 o Promotional offer was advertised allowing students admission to any late show (excluding Tuesdays) for $5 The ad has not gotten a single known response. Since there is no coupon required the customer only needs to advise they are a student to receive the discount.

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Target Markets
Primary Target Market: Students and young professionals • • • • Males and females Aged 21-40 years Some students o Low income, some post-secondary Some employed professionals o Post-secondary education o Single or married without children o Employed with medium to high income Live downtown between Queen’s University and the waterfront up to the Kingston Centre, North of Princess to Concession Street o Students most likely rent apartments o Young professionals rent or own a home

Secondary Target Market: Semi-retired Elites • • • • • • • • Males and females Aged 45-60 years Post-secondary education Employed with medium to high income, possibly retired comfortably Married without dependant children Homeowners Live downtown between Queen’s University and the waterfront up to the Kingston Centre, North of Princess to Concession Street Live in West end of Kingston, but make weekly visits downtown for dinner and entertainment

General Psychographics of both target markets include: • • Enjoy the arts; including music, film and theatre Avoid mainstream trends – tend to be entertainment insiders o Both target markets are value-expressive consumers – they make buying decisions specifically in order to express their knowledge of, and preference for obscure and progressive entertainment to other consumers o Individuals will express loyalty to a product or service that reinforces their sense of identity with this exclusive, “underground” community of trendsetters According to Terry Laffier, the highest-grossing films at the Screening Room include big-budget mainstream titles that run after the larger Kingston venues have already played them, foreign and foreign-themed films, and documentaries

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o Many regular customers will wait until mainstream and critically-popular films finish running at big theatres and come and see them when they run later at the Screening Room Most likely these individuals are gauging the quality of the film by the media attention it receives during it’s first run, and they also prefer to avoid the crowds and distractions at larger theatres Prefer to support independent businesses rather than large chains

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Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)
Strengths • • Show films that larger cinemas don’t – foreign language, independent, and locally produced films Show some mainstream films after larger cinemas have already featured them o Reel rental costs are lower o Regular Screening Room customers have an opportunity to see big budget films without the “big-theatre” distractions Lower-priced tickets

Theatre Admission Prices in Kingston
$12.00 $10.00 $8.00 $6.00 $4.00 $2.00 $0.00 The Cineplex Em pire Screening Odeon Theatres Room Adult Children & Seniors Tuesdays

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o The regular cost of admission for one adult is $8.00, or $5.25 on Tuesdays; Compared to $9.95/$7.95 at the Cineplex Odeon on Gardiners Road or $10.99/$7.99 at the Capitol Theatre downtown o The average price of admission to a Canadian cinema, including all discount days, senior/student discounts and matinee screenings, was $7.45 in 2004 1 Have already developed a house list of over 3000 email addresses o Weekly email newsletters build excitement around current and upcoming features Modest, timeworn aesthetic compared to newer, larger cinemas o Smaller theatres, less crowded, fewer distractions o Large theatre seats 90 viewers, smaller theatre seats 56 viewers Convenient downtown location Involved in the annual Kingston Canadian Film Festival

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The Daily. Movie theatres and drive-ins. June 28, 2005. Statistics Canada. March 19, 2008. <http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/050628/d050628b.htm>.

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Weaknesses • • • • • Rarely feature mainstream films Smaller theatres with smaller screens and older seats – entire business is much less “polished” than newer, larger cinemas Parking downtown can be difficult Not visible from the street, only accessible through a low-traffic business mall Only two theatres, unable to seat as many customers as larger theatres

Opportunities • • • • • • Plenty of students and young professionals who enjoy films in Kingston, particularly independent, foreign films and local productions o Maximize the hipster, kitsch appeal of the Screening Room Focus on market residing within walking distance (1-5 kilometres) Make the Screening Room a destination entertainment venue for target market residing outside of walking distance Build business from foot traffic going to and from renovated Grand Theatre, new K-Rock large venue entertainment centre 105.1 million cinema tickets sold in Canada in 2005 2 o A per capita average of 3.8 visits 3 New interest in Indian films in Hollywood, more joint venture “Bollywood” style films being produced for Western audiences

Threats • Larger cinemas have more marketing muscle o In 2003/2004, small theatres in Canada(those with operating revenues less than $500,000 per year) accounted for just 5 percent of total cinema attendance 4 o In 2003/04, the typical small theatre in Canada operated at an average loss of $2844 5 High cost of movie reel rentals for commercial screening The opening of the K-Rock Centre and the reopening of the Grand Theatre offer alternative entertainment options Rise in popularity of home theatre technology has made watching movies at home cheaper and easier than visiting a cinema o In 2003/04, Canadian movie theatre attendance dropped by 4.6 percent from the previous year, halting a decade-long upswing 6

• • •

The Daily. Motion picture theatres. August 3, 2007. Statistics Canada. March 20, 2008. <http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/070803/d070803b.htm>. 3 ibid 4 The Daily. Movie theatres and drive-ins. June 28, 2005. Statistics Canada. March 19, 2008. <http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/050628/d050628b.htm>. 5 ibid 6 ibid

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o In 2006 and 2007 movie theatre attendance appeared to recover somewhat, but remains uncertain 7 Online streaming video and illegal downloading is making it increasingly easy for web-savvy individuals to watch new movies at home, for free o Over the past four years, student attendance has dropped off significantly Most students report having seen big-budget films by the time they run at the Screening Room

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“Movie makers see healthy outlook despite economy.” ScreenIndia. March 21, 2008. March 23, 2008. <http://www.screenindia.com/news/Movie-makers-see-healthy-outlook-despite-economy/285818/>

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Site Architecture
The following are a few basic architectural specifications of a new Screening Room website: • • Pages should be 940px wide in order to maximize the amount of space available for design elements Pages should be build on a grid of four columns wide by four columns deep o Site branding, including search bar and breadcrumbs, should be the full width of the page and occupy the entire top column o Each page, excluding the homepage, will have a one column-wide sidebar featuring dynamic content

The following is a hierarchal breakdown of pages and sub-pages that should be considered in the construction of a new website for the Screening Room. Common Elements Every page within the website will feature the following elements: • • • • • • Home The home page will feature the following dynamic elements that will link to additional content elsewhere on the website: • • • • News o Recent post titles with thumbnail pictures and truncated copy Now playing o Showtimes Coming Soon o Schedule for release Events calendar Branding, tagline, call to action Search bar Member Sign-in/New member Navigation menu Breadcrumbs Footer

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Other standalone elements of the Homepage include, but are not limited to the following: • • News The news page will use a content management system similar to a blogging engine. Each post will include the following elements: • • • • • • • • • • Headline Pictures Body copy Posting date and time Permalink Subject tags Related article headlines User comments Email to a friend Bookmarking button (will function with most major social bookmark websites including Digg, Del.icio.us, Technorati etc.) Welcome message Admission prices

The news page will include a sidebar feature the following dynamic elements that will link to additional content: • • • • Recent Comments (from all posts) Most discussed posts Most emailed posts Archives

Now Playing The Now Playing page is designed to showcase the product offerings of the Screening Room. Due to technical limitations of the Screening Room, at this time the website will not be designed with any Ecommerce support – that is, the ability for website users to purchase admission online – but the page should be constructed with consideration to providing this function at some point in the future. Above the fold, the Now Playing page will feature the following static elements for each of the current feature presentations: • • • • Poster graphic Showtimes Synopsis Production information

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• • •

Release date and official rating Embedded trailer Official site

This Now Playing page will also feature the following dynamic content for each current feature presentation: • • User ratings User reviews

Below the fold the Now Playing page will feature the following elements about films coming soon to the Screening Room • • • • • Poster graphic Release date and show schedule Production information Embedded trailer User discussion

This page will include a sidebar with the following dynamic elements that link to content located elsewhere on the website: • • Related news posts Related discussions

Community The centerpiece of the Community page will be a discussion board that’s supported and hosted by a third-party content management system and embedded within the page. Access to the forum will be exclusive to website members. Categories and topics for the message board might include: • • • • • • • Films currently playing at the Screening Room Various film genres (classic, foreign, comedy, documentary etc.) Film gossip Actors, directors, producers and other film personalities Awards Film Festivals Soundtracks

The Community page will also include a sidebar featuring the following dynamic elements that link to additional content elsewhere on the page • • Ratings and reviews Top news posts and comments

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The Community page will also feature links to related websites that might include: • • • About The About page will feature the following static elements: • • • • • In-depth history and description of the business Pictures of the outside of the business, the lobby, the concession counter, the theatres and Terry Laffier herself Hours of operation Map and direction Contact information Film websites Film blogs Web magazines

The About page will also feature the following dynamic elements: • • Events calendar Current sales promotions

Site Navigation
Easy navigation of a new Screening Room website will be facilitated through three distinct means: First, the primary navigation menu will be located at the top of the page, either just above or just below the site’s branding. The primary navigation menu will link to the following pages: • • • • • Home News Now Playing Discussion About

Given the architectural depth of a Screening Room website, breadcrumbs will be used as a secondary navigation tool for users of the site. A breadcrumb trail might look something like the following: Home > Community > General Film Discussion > Top Ten Documentaries Ever Made

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The last navigation tool used on a new Screening Room website will be a search bar. The search bar will be located at the top of every page near the branding, and will allow website users to search the site for specific content.

Detailed Objectives in Relation to Site Architecture
1. Provide show times, admission prices, currently running titles, as well as teaser information about films that are coming soon for a consumer segment who increasingly relies on the internet for all pre-purchase buying information As mentioned previously, both target market segments of the Screening Room are increasingly dependant on the web for most, if not all, pre-purchase information. A well designed, informative website that’s easy to navigate is arguably the most important factor in the sustainable success of the Screening Room’s business model. In addition to the structure, design and content, a new website must also feature search engine optimization (SEO) and meet all current web standards in order to reach the maximum number of potential customers. For the most part, this objective will be met in the Homepage and the Now Playing page. The homepage will provide admission pricing information and some information on currently featured films for stickiness, and the Now Playing page will provide detailed information about these films along with user ratings and reviews of them. To avoid having users navigate away from the Screening Room website, each film featured on the Now Playing page must feature an effective synopsis and more importantly, at least one imbedded video trailer for each film. With regards to SEO, all copy on the homepage must be concise and adherent to current web standards and the Now Playing page must feature top-line film information including relevant search terms. 2. Develop and nurture a Screening Room community by providing a forum and information hub for film enthusiasts in Kingston and surrounding area and a user rating and review system for current and upcoming films There is little doubt that a viable market niche for the Screening Room exists in Kingston, the challenge is in reaching that market, engaging them, and ultimately driving them to the business as paying customers. Essentially, a new website must not only market the business to the customer, but allow the customer to express their own values with regards to films and the movie industry. In order to truly grasp the current popularity of film discussion on the web, consider that celebrity gossip blog, perezhilton.com, attracts over 2.8 million visitors per month. 8
Leeds, Jeff. "Perez Hilton Could Play a New Role." New York Times on the Web February 26, 2008. April 11, 2008 <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/26/arts/music/26pere.html?_r=2&ref=arts&oref=slogin&oref=slogin >.
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Admittedly, a new Screening Room website isn’t likely to draw quite that many visitors, but it does provide some indication of the potential of film discussion as a marketing tool. The Community and News pages on a new Screening Room website will cover the discussion aspects of this objective, and in doing so, these pages will draw more traffic to the website. While it’s understood that the majority of the student and young professional target market participates in online discussion about all sorts of topics, it’s essential that a Screening Room website also engages the business’s other target market; the semi-retired elites. Although this target market is web-savvy, they’re much less comfortable participating in online discussions. The rating and review system within the Now Playing page will provide a simple, fourstar user rating system with optional review fields for each film being shown at the Screening Room and will engage these older website users, as well as the students and young professions, and allow them to express their film values with fewer barriers and more anonymity. In addition to engaging visitors to the website, a discussion board and rating and review system increase the site’s information value and therefore its overall stickiness. Moreover, these website features will build excitement around films being shown at the Screening Room and therefore drive more traffic to the business. 3. Building on the Screening Room’s brand and reinforcing the business’s niche market In order to maximize return from a viable niche market, a new website must utilize relevant content and visual elements to speak directly to the core customer. The website should prominently feature graphic elements pulled directly from film obscurity, and news and commentary should focus on subjects of particular interest to the previously described psychographics of the target market. To satisfy this objective, every page within a new Screening Room website must feature an effective logo, appropriate typefaces, appropriate colour themes and relevant graphic elements suitable to the business’s existing brand. No single element of the page architecture will satisfy this objective. Rather, the entire website must subtly but cohesively communicate the Screening Room brand promise.

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Design Elements
Website Logo Perhaps the most important design element of a Screening Room website is the logo. It will appear on every page and plays a pivotal role in defining the brand in the mind of the consumer and website user. Since the Screening Room currently doesn’t use a consistent logo, it’s imperative that one be designed and purpose built for the website, but also used in all future communications with the consumer. Creating the logo should be left to a graphic designer. However, the following are some examples of logos being used by other websites with similar target markets:

Figure 1: www.filmspotting.com

Figure 2: www.obsessedwithfilm.com

Figure 3: www.film-releases.com

The following Screening Room logos were designed for the purpose of this report:

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Type As an extension to the logo and other graphic elements featured on the website, the typefaces used can also communicate the brand promise and set the tone for the user experience. The following typefaces are based on movie and television themes, and some might be suitable for use on a Screening Room website:

Welcome to the Screening Room (Broadway) Welcome to the Screening Room (CNN)

Welcome to the Screening Room
Colour Themes

(Mars Attacks)

Welcome to the Screening Room (Ringbearer)

Welcome to the Screening Room (Timepiece)
In order to communicate the timeworn feeling of the Screening Room, the website should use mostly grayscale colour, with some metal shades. Pictures within news posts should be displayed in full colour, but otherwise a black on white theme, with minimal use of colour, should be established to imply polish and good taste. The following are examples of metal shades that could be considered for use in a limited capacity on a Screening Room website:

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Driving Traffic to the Website and Additional Marketing Communications
It’s important to understand that the sustainable success of the Screening Room depends on a complete marketing mix consisting of brand building, web initiatives, strategic alliance and direct response advertising. On their own, these elements may fall short of established objectives, but together they provide a marketing solution that will certainly result in measurably higher attendance, and provide a detailed database of Screening Room customers going forward. As mentioned before, The Screening Room product is perfectly marketable to the student, young professional and semi-retired elite consumer segments. To date, the business has underachieved because it has failed to effectively reach these consumers with relative advertising messages, particularly through the web. Presently, the Screening Room is perfectly poised to reap huge rewards from a well designed and regularly updated website that sells its brand and the underlying benefits; including good location, affordability, access to a community of individuals with shared interests, and great movies in an unpretentious setting. Prior to launching a new website, the Screening Room must acquire a suitable URL. A more appropriate URL such as www.thescreeningroom.com or www.screeningroomkingston.com will help increase website traffic and assist in search engine optimization. Email Database Marketing For several years, the Screening Room has been compiling customer email addresses in a database and sending a weekly newsletter to these individuals. In addition to updates about featured films and related information, the newsletter includes a coupon for twofor-one admission on Monday nights. In order to celebrate the launch of a new Screening Room website, an announcement should be sent out to all house list members requesting they sign up to become members of the website by providing some additional personal information. This strategy will raise awareness of the new website and augment the existing house list with more source data that can be used for future direct marketing efforts. Included in the membership form will be fields for the individual’s favourite film and favourite actor. This information will be used to kick-start the discussions on the Community page and will help create a better understanding of the core customer. As a further consideration, a special promotion could be offered to existing house list members as an incentive to lower the perceived risk of providing the Screening Room with additional personal information. The promotion could be positioned as a special offer for friends of the Screening Room.

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Social Web Initiatives A Facebook group and a Linked-In group will be created for the Screening Room. This initiative will allow the value expressive target market to align themselves with one of Kingston’s finest independent businesses, while also providing the Screening Room with valuable social brand credibility among the target market. More importantly, it will stimulate viral interest in the Screening Room through a medium that’s increasingly becoming an entertainment resource for its users. Additionally, members of the social networking groups will be offered a special promotion for signing up on the new Screening Room website. Cinema Screen Advertising Still considered an emerging media, cinema screen advertising generates global revenues exceeding US$1 billion annually. 9 Since the audience chooses to go to the cinema and pays for the experience with their own cash, cinema advertising is an opt-in medium. The message reaches a relaxed and captive audience who are in an anticipatory frame of mind. The launch of a new Screening Room website can advertised prior to all feature presentations. Again, in order to lure prospective members to the website, a special promotion can be offered to new members. Since there is no media cost, the only cost is for production of the spots. With the availability of production equipment and software, even those costs are much lower than might be expected. It’s estimated the production cost of one thirty-second cinema advertising spot will cost approximately $150-$200.

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Author unknown. “Cinema screen advertising: a still developing billion dollar industry.” Goliath: Business Knowledge on Demand. April 1, 2004. April 9, 2008. <http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/summary_0199-559336_ITM>

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Website Evaluation
Once a new Screening Room website has been successfully launched, there are a number of ways to evaluate its usefulness, monitor its successes, and fine-tune possible failures. Site Statistics Site statistics will be utilized to monitor click-through traffic and determine where users are linking from, and where they’re linking to when they leave the Screening Room website. In addition, site statistics can provide in-depth information about times of the day and days of the week when the site is being accessed most (or least). Finally site statistics will show which specific pages within the site are being accessed most, and which are being accessed the least. Coupon Redemption Any promotion that is offered as an incentive for membership to the website should be numbered and tracked. By tracking coupon redemption, the business is able to determine which offers produce the most results, where those offers originated, and which members have the highest response rate. These are all positive outcomes of any direct response advertising campaign. Membership Growth The most obvious way to measure a new website’s effectiveness is to monitor the number of new members. Aside from admission sales at the cinema, membership growth with be the single biggest indicator of a sticky and effective website. Admission Sales The sole purpose of any website is to increase sales. A measurable increase in theatre attendance is the desired outcome of this project.

Closing Summary
This project has given me a new respect for the Screening Room business as a valuable part of the progressive arts community in Kingston. I believe the Screening Room is presently underachieving in what is a very viable market and a web initiative, combined with an appropriate marketing mix may be a catalyst for huge growth.

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