Marketing strategy: Audience Segmentation

The Royal tenenbaums


Does the film belong to a specific genre? Does the film speak to a specific age group? A film marketing team has to find out the film “marketability” regarding segments of audience, such as gender, lifestyle, geography, values…

A good knowledge of the cinema audience is required in order to know :

- How to segment this audience?

- How to select the right segment?

- How to target the segment through marketing communications?


Who are the moviegoers ?

Vital question. The cinema industry categorises audiences in many different ways but often relies on an age-related scheme (PG,12, 15, 18), a “lifestyle” or an “attitude” categorisation.

Australian Cinema Audience

The Australian cinema audience, according to Screen Australia


What does a segment look like?

In terms of demographics, geographics, media consumptions, values…

A targeted segment should be:

  • Identifiable and measurable
  • Having a different response to another segment
  • Substantial enough to meet the objectives
  • Durable: Not subject to quick change
  • Accessible by marketing communications and distribution activities

Segment Urban 14-17

The Male/Urban/14-17 yo segment in Australia, according to Screen Australia

A few major cross-platform distributors, such as Disney Pictures, manage their own in-house Consumer Research Direction.


How to target them ?

The usual work for the media agency working along with the distributor is to have a perfect knowledge of how to target each segment and to engage with it. And a good knowedge of the current shift in media consumption.

An Australian exemple: The 50+

According to specialists, in a few countries, and among them Australia and the UK, there was a moviegoers segment that may have been neglected once, but no more: the 50+ . However, there is still an “old-fashion” way to promote movies targeted this audience. There is a bias to think that movies targeting 50+ shouldn’t go online whereas the Australians of over 50 years of age are now massively online and almost as engaged as the youngsters.


According to a recent Nielsen study:

- 3.2 million 50+ were online in July last year

- They spend more time online than the 18-24 years old. (95 hours/month vs 83 hours/month)

- 42% currently own a Smart Phone

Australia’s Online 50+ are responsible for:

- Almost a fifth of all page views on Facebook

- 21% of all audience traffic to member community websites.

Baby boomer internet audience report Nielsen

The 60+: A number of films now appeal to older audiences: AMOUR, QUARTET, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, HOPE SPRINGS…). However, targeting this segment online remains hazardous. But obviously, it’s getting better.


Core audience vs Wide audience

The biggest mistake I see independent filmmakers make is a failure to identify and build the audience for their films.” wrote  Sheri Candler, indie films marketer, on her blog.

2 main audiences targeted:

The Core Target (niche group): To kick word of mouth off

Instead of spreading resources and efforts, distributors focus on creating a value offering that will be more specific and effective for a segment. Age groups, geographics (City/Suburb), behaviour, lifestyle (sport players), ethnicities, religion… Every core target has a predisposition to act as “brand ambassador” and to help the distributor to raise awareness.

- Cricket players in Australia

Save Your Legs! Poster

SAVE YOUR LEGS! (Madman ; 2013 ; #Australia)

- Art-house movies enthusiasts: Fans of LA-based director Quentin Dupieux for the French release of his absurd films RUBBER (2010) and WRONG (2012)

Wrong Poster (cropped)

WRONG (UFO ; 2012 ; #France)

- Sequels of animated movies : The example of TOY STORY 3

Toy Story 3

In addition to parents and kids, Disney targeted 20-something consumers who likely saw the first movie 15 years ago. Those who may have a nostalgic connection to the franchise.

- “Faith movies” in the US

Heaven is waiting TV ad

HEAVEN IS WAITING (DVD Title ; Excel Entertainment ; 2011 ; #US)

There is a great number of channels of influence covering “Tens of millions of niche-market consumers, including 350,000 churches and pastors, 200,000 educators, 100,000 youth leaders, and 130 million weekly church attendees”, according to

- Core audience for STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

There is an interesting marketing insight online, written by Matt Rosenberg from company Taykey (Movie Marketing Insight: Star Trek Into Darkness).  This article deals with the demographics of the spectators talking about the film STAR TREK last year when the studio started to raise awareness online by targeting its core audience of fans.

At this stage, the audience involved in the conversation was mostly  80% male and about 70% over 35 years old.

This example leads us to the importance of widening the spectator demographics by targeting a larger audience. In that case: targeting women and making the audience younger to reach the “4 quarters” (-25yo/+25yo ; male/female), one of the key success for a massive US franchise release.

The wider audience (mainstream group): key of success

According to Disney Pictures France’s MD, in his marketing book Le Marketing du cinema, a movie is worth a certain amount of spectators for each type of audience. For example, in France, a Woody Allen film is worth:

-       400 000 tickets / US$3.5M for the core target (Woody Allen fans)

-       1,2M tickets / US$10M for the wider audience

Ideally, movies “break out” or “cross over”, reaching larger segments and, rarely, reaching occasional moviegoers or non-moviegoers.

- The movie 42, released last week in the US, is a baseball film. However Warner is reporting that the audience was 52 percent female the first weekend. Good job.

42 the movie

- INTOUCHABLES in France last year (More than 20 million tickets out of a population of 60 million). It was a one-in-a-decade cinema attendance for many spectators.

Intouchables US ad


Older posts about Audience:

Film Attendance and Moviegoers decision making 

Film Marketing Principles


Update 3/05/13: STAR TREK example

Sources: Screen Australia ;  Dr. Brian Monger via Compukol ; Sheri Candlermoviemarketing.bizLe Marketing du cinema ; Box Office Mojo ; imediaconnection


JEAN-FRANCOIS ROUSSEAU /  My Twitter My Linkedin

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