"Noovie" Takes Film Fans Behind the Scenes and Beyond the Theater

I spoke with Steve Ochs, NCM's Senior Vice President, Marketing and Creative, about the development of this new brand.

Ingrid Laub:  At its core, Noovie is replacing the First Look pre-show -- the content people watch when they enter the theater.  What's new and different?

Steve Ochs:  It's an entirely new brand, new look, new feel, new graphic treatments, new VOs.  We're trying to organically create a thematic arch from start to finish, so it feels more like a show.  Not only will the look and feel be more contemporary and more geared toward our core audience of Gen Z and Millennial movie fans, but we're also creating our own original content and partnering with a variety of producers.  Through June, Disney will be the premier provider of content for the Noovie Backlot segments, which are going to be a combination of interviews by Maria Menounos, whimsical stuff, and alternative, exclusive content from the studios that's not available anywhere else.  Rumble Yard, Sony Music Entertainment's original content arm, is also working with us to create Noovie Soundcheck.  It's a 90-second look at bands before they go on stage.  The first features Foo Fighters at a concert they did at the Acropolis in Greece.

Laub:  Let's talk about going beyond the walls of the theater.  Noovie is a platform for following the movie fan wherever he or she travels.  What are the first manifestations we'll see?

Ochs:  The benefit we have is this huge audience of movie-goers, a brilliant 40-foot screen, and the opportunity to let people know about the Noovie experience outside of the theater.  If you want to see more, go to noovie.com or download the Noovie app, which will be launching in the coming months.  The average movie-goer goes to the movies once every two months, so that's a 60-day cycle.  We have a unique opportunity to hit this captive and engaged audience on the one day that they go to the movies, and then use that to become part of the conversation and part of their movie journey for the other 59 days.  You're going to see some initial forays into augmented reality at the end of this year, and in the beginning of next year you'll see digital executions that will focus on our three key Noovie pillars: content, gaming and commerce.

Laub:  Tell me about the visual representation of the new brand.  Was the graphic design all done in-house?

Ochs:  All of the elements were built in-house.  We have a really talented team of design and motion graphics artists in particular.  It's brighter, more upbeat.  Noovie is really about what's new in entertainment, so we want to have that upbeat, friendly attitude reflected in the graphics.

Laub:  How did you come up with the name?

Ochs:  Our CEO Andy England comes from a consumer packaged-goods background and understands the value of brands that are own-able.  The problem with FirstLook was that we couldn't trademark it.  It was a 10-month process with a combination of internal crowd-sourcing, working with an agency on name generation, and trademark search.  We landed on Noovie because it's original, own-able, it's not a real word so you can have fun with it -- and it alludes to what's new at the movies.

Laub:  Did you do any consumer testing before the launch?

Ochs:  Research is a consistent discipline for us, and we have our Behind the Screens proprietary panel of 5,000 movie-goers that we regularly check in with for their opinions and insights.  A lot of the changes we've made to the show -- everything from the graphics, to the content that we're going to be providing, to the digital experiences that we're going to look at delivering -- are all a function of the ongoing conversation that we're having with this core audience of avid movie-goers.  Plus, we're always in theaters doing exit interviews from an advertising perspective, so we're going to start tacking on consumer-focused questions as well, asking them about awareness or things that have or haven't worked.

Laub:  Can you tell me about the commerce play?

Ochs:  You can imagine a lot of the different things that would be great fits for Noovie, whether it's ticketing or merchandising or concessions.  But one of the things that's very important about Noovie is that it stays focused on what delivers value to that movie audience.  If we do the right thing for the consumer, advertisers won't be far behind.  We'll be delivering an even more valuable, engaged audience to them.

Laub:  How will Noovie provide value for brands?

Ochs:  Jack Myers wrote a piece recently on the fact that people are ignoring brand value in media companies.  When you build a really strong media brand, it creates value because other brands want to be around it.  Our goal is to build a brand that has a personality, a point of view, and provides value and relevance to our consumers, so much so that brands want it to rub off on them as well.  The second key piece is to build engagement.  We already benefit from some of the highest engagement metrics in the industry.  We want to make sure that we deliver a fully engaging show, with people interacting in a meaningful way with content and brands on the big screen and beyond.

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Ingrid Laub

Ingrid Laub has been crafting marketplace perceptions for media companies since helping launch CNBC and MSNBC. She spent a decade at NBC Cable developing campaigns to increase distribution, ad sales and viewership. As Partner, Executive Account Director... read more