What a year 2018 has been. With only one month left to go before 2019 kicks off, we took a pause with our Chief Executive, Will Palmer, to reflect on the past year and look to the future. Each year, our goals and achievements grow to be bigger and more impactful than the last - and 2019 is no different. Check out the full interview below, where we pick Will’s brain for all things Movio.
What have been your business highlights for 2018?
At the beginning of this year, we launched the most impressive piece of innovation since introducing Movio Cinema: Audience Insights. It took the work that we'd already done, using historical behavior to predict the audiences of future films, and then actually ranked each moviegoer’s likelihood of watching them. The outputs of this have been nothing short of remarkable; targeting people with a high propensity to watch a film has proven immensely effective, and our cinema and studio partners have been experiencing huge success. This puts the release of Audience Insights at the top of my highlights list.
The second highlight has been the launch of Dynamic Content in Email. This development utilizes Audience Insights to dynamically populate emails with information on films that each recipient is most likely to watch. Dynamic Content empowers movie marketers across the board to go way beyond the simple personalization of name, points balance or loyalty program tier. We've made every single image inside the email template dynamic, so hypothetically, 100,000 moviegoers can all receive a truly unique and personalized email - and I think that's really special.
From a global expansion perspective, it's been really exciting to launch Movio in Brazil. We now have two major customers live with Movio Cinema in that region: a significant achievement geographically, but also as our first Portuguese-speaking territory. We're also really excited about launching our media business in that market in the not-too-distant future, so the Brazilian expansion has certainly been a highlight.
What new innovation are you most excited for in 2019?
The big thing for me this coming year is taking our behavioral- and propensity-based insights and increasing the ways we can connect with moviegoers. Traditionally, our offering has centered around our own ecosystem of email, SMS, and push notifications. In 2019, our focus is all things digital: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or anywhere moviegoers are consuming media. I'm really excited about bringing that to market in 2019.
What will the Movio focus be in the first quarter, and what can Movio customers expect?
Early in the new year, Movio will deliver the first phase of our data warehouse platform. This massive project essentially decouples the database away from the applications, be it Movio Cinema or Movio Media, enabling our customers to utilize their data in a highly-accessible and flexible manner. In the first phase, we will support the use of leading third-party Business Intelligence tools over the top of the data warehouse. This will be pre-configured so that our customers can easily access and analyze the data, generating previously unseen insights.
This is currently in beta testing with a planned release date slated for early 2019, and will trigger a number of big side benefits. One of the things we've always wanted to do is anonymously benchmark post-campaign performance and financial uplift, so that all of our customers can learn from global best practice, understand how they rank in terms of things like campaign performance or engagement, and start working towards recommended improvements.
In addition to that, we've been diligently developing a “prove-it!” metric to help our cinema partners understand how coupling their strategy with our software is yielding a return for their businesses. We're really excited about sharing those demonstrable insights with our customers next year.
What trends do you expect to see in the cinema space next year?
I think we’ll be seeing a lot more data-driven decision-making in 2019 than ever before. Business Intelligence tools and data enrichment are becoming things that leading cinemas are already spending a lot of time on. They’re trying to understand more about their customers, beyond moviegoing, geographical or demographic data points. The ideal scenario is to have a single view of customers across all of their activity - not just within the cinema space - and then using that to fuel new insights and new ways of communication.
We believe this data-driven decision-making is going to help drive those digital communications I spoke about earlier. It’s all about finding the ideal audience based on their behavior, and connecting with them via their preferred digital channel.
Traditionally, movies have been largely marketed at a cinema level via email, SMS, and push. Studios expenditure tends to still be television, billboards, radio, etc. I expect we're going to see the entire movie industry becoming highly digital in 2019. Even those traditional media channels are evolving digitally, with things like addressable television and digital radio. I think that’s the really big trend to expect: moviegoers connecting with movies in a far more digitally-savvy way.
Which movies are you most looking forward to?
One in particular: The Lion King. I’ve seen some of the early footage and it is absolutely mind-blowing. Within seconds, you’re convinced you’re seeing animals talk. Jon Faverau has done an amazing job in the past with Iron Man and the Jungle Book - he really brought those stories to life. It seems like he has taken it to the next level with the upcoming adaptation of The Lion King, and my prediction is that this is going to be one of the biggest movies of all time.