What are you doing in digital entertainment and other emerging areas?
There is an explosion of devices right now with about 500 million new connected devices, which give people access to content at all times.
Based on our forecast, recent numbers suggest that, by 2015, there will be about 874 million connected devices, and that explosion is fueling the need for great content. And, as the consumer becomes more tech savvy, there is an expectation that they should be able to access their content anywhere at any time.
Describe one of your recent major accomplishments in digital?
The launch of Digital HD, which is the ability for consumers to buy a movie or a TV show in a digital format in high definition. Customers are now connected with their content in the highest possible quality in all the ways they want to experience it.
It is not just the explosion of access or devices that is driving this, but it is that consumers have become more comfortable with downloading and collecting digital content. The whole notion of the cloud and music and e-books have played a big part in driving that, so it’s a natural iteration for people to expect that movies will go the same way.
We are proud that we were at the forefront of that shift. We realized we had to make a moniker – Digital HD – to help consumers associate collecting their digital content in HD for multiple devices. We advertised heavily behind that and recently got the industry to adopt that moniker.
What is one of your biggest challenges?
Digital in many senses is a new format. Usually, when you collect something, it’s tangible and physical, so getting people comfortable with the experience of not having to carry things around because they will always be in your cloud or your device has been a challenge because consumers are at different levels of adoption.
How are marketing and communications structured at the company?
This role includes a physical and digital remit. The physical includes DVDs and Blu-rays; digital being the content on iTunes, Xbox, Hulu, and other devices.
When I brought the worldwide digital and domestic divisions together, we wanted to have clear hubs of activity. I created global brand hubs, which include new releases and our library of movies, TV products, and also acquisitions and sub-party brands, which acquire and distribute movies and products on behalf of other companies.
Those areas report into the head of global brands, who has a direct line into me. Also, within this brand group is a global digital customer marketing group. They are the interface between the brand and digital customers such as iTunes, Xbox, Google, Comcast, and Time Warner.
The other three groups are what I call the servicing components of marketing. Another global role was created and I collapsed everything into marcomms because there was a lot of overlap. The head of communications is in the worldwide marcomms group. Within this department sits media, social media, PR, corporate communications, and third-party promotions.
The worldwide creative group services all of our print, audio, video, point-of-sale production, and creative for the division. The final group reporting to me is worldwide content production. That unit works very closely with filmmakers and creative production units within the studio and our TV group to craft the storytelling that becomes the added value and enhancements you get with your DVD or Blu-ray, and within the digital ecosystem, as well.
The idea is that we are all aligned and there is no one working in silos. We have a complete overarching strategic point of view as we go to market on every title.
What’s your main goal this year?
To make sure each element of our campaigns is fully integrated. With our communications and marketing strategies, we try to inspire people with great content and storytelling, and that means storytelling in relation to our marketing, as well as the inherent storytelling in a movie.
Consumers have to be able to relate to what you are showing or telling them. We have to be authentic because they are becoming more savvy and aware of when they are being marketed to. Customers are receptive of marketing as long as it is good, relevant, relatable, and authentic.