When planning and targeting ad spend for on-demand success, there are many factors that play an important role. 

For example, it usually makes sense to target previous renters because they tend to rent again rather than people who have never rented on-demand before. We also see that a film with strong talent pulls in higher VOD revenue than one without it.

These factors can help plan broadly, but are most helpful when viewed within the bounds of genre. Different types of films, like a family flick versus an award show drama, play differently on-demand based on a handful of other factors. 

Cadent serves a number of studios, which release movies each year to various markets. This scale helps us identify, observe and understand trends and patterns. We’ve looked at the impact of certain variables, including film sentiment, unexpected events and award season recognition affect on-demand rental revenue. 

In this post, we’re taking a closer look at how critic score, previous rental activity, spend tactics, and talent affected VOD performance across five different genres, including action, comedy, drama, family and horror. For success in the market of on-demand rentals, pay attention to these specific planning strategies based on real data.

Lower spends make sense for action titles

Many action movies and franchises have massive marketing campaign support behind their theatrical releases, with generally larger box office numbers and wider top-of-mind public awareness. We found that action films had nearly double the opening weekend box office of other genres including comedy, drama, horror, and thriller. 

This heightened consumer awareness of a title means a smaller ad spend can go further than a large one. By sticking to the lower limits of ad spend, we can both prevent diminishing returns and increase ROAS.

For comedy success, plan around previous renters

Comedy seems to be less affected by outside factors (like critic score or pre-awareness) than some other genres. In fact, our statistics show that critic score has no effect on VOD revenue for comedy titles: When a comedy title had a below-average critic score, it did 29% better on VOD than a critically acclaimed comedy. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a silly comedy?

Plan ad spend on comedic titles around known variables, like whether a consumer has previously rented similar films or is a fan of the genre. 

Talent wins with drama titles

Known talent provides a boost in VOD revenue across all genres, but has a notable effect on dramatic titles with high critical acclaim.

Films with talent that were positively rated by critics made 25.5% more on average in VOD revenue that talent-filled dramatic films that were poorly reviewed. Critic score doesn’t play as valuable a role in determining VOD revenue for films that don’t have the draw of popular talent.

Precisely target via addressable and DAI (digital ad insertion) and FOD (free on demand) buys and put your ad send behind dramatic films that are liked by critics and stacked with well-liked talent. 

Talent and acclaim take the cake with family titles

These titles are the most positively affected by critical acclaim: We found that successful reviews prompted a $3.47MM boost in VOD revenue for family films. Similarly, the most recent “Jumanji” film was a finalist for an OMMA Award (for Online Marketing Media and Advertising) after bringing in more than $16.44MM in revenue and becoming the largest VOD rental of 2018.

Add in a strong roster of talent and a positively reviewed movie can find success with a broad market of consumers. This means more efficient ad planning and spending tactics can be used for these VOD titles.

Plan around new renters for horror films

This genre consistently attracts new renters, who typically represent between 7 and 8% of sales. By partnering with Cadent for planning, horror titles have averaged about 9% new renters per title.

There are a number of hypotheses about why, but accessibility is a big one. Going to a movie theater to catch a newly released horror film might be out of a viewer’s comfort zone, but bringing that title into the living room (where they can, say, keep all the lights on) can make it more attractive to movie renters.

Look to reach the “unconventional” rental audience with horror titles by reaching out to the target demographic and looking less at their VOD status.

The key takeaway

When analyzing the effect of genre on revenue with the additional factors such as talent presence or critical acclaim (or, sometimes, lack thereof) can help fine-tune targeting and ad planning for VOD titles to an essential success point. By evaluating where a title falls within genre and these different variables, Cadent can help clients set optimal goals and plan to spend smartly for each unique movie title.

Read more about the variables that affect in-home rental revenue.

Marc Greenblatt

Posted by Marc Greenblatt

Media Analyst, Entertainment