DirecTV agreed to partner with indie A24 in 2013, which resulted in the Cinema Exclusives program, where select independent movies are premiered for a short time, usually thirty days, before the movies are released in theatres. These movie premiers cost between 10.99 and 12.99 dollars.
Hanny Patel, who is the Vice President of Video Marketing for AT&T Entertainment Group and one of the founders of the Cinema Exclusives program, told that the program was not aimed to drive revenues on its own, but was intended to improve value proposition of DirecTV services. The program is a grand success and one of the key things that resulted in the success is big data.
“We really look at what our customers like,” Patel said. “We have analytics. We know who is watching these films. We’re able to handpick films that we really know would appeal.” She also added that this knowledge has been acquired with time and tests. “We learned a lot in the first year. We experimented with all different types of films. We’ve been able to kind of hone in on what works. Thriller genre works, action, a little mystery sci-fi angle really resonates with our customers.”
Patel further said that the Cinema Exclusives program is much popular with parents of kids who love movies, but cannot get to theater always. Viewers of the program are evenly spread across locations and Saturday night is the most popular viewing time for users, followed by Friday night. She also added that there are many crossovers between the fans of Cinema Exclusives program and other offerings from DirecTV. “What’s nice is we found people that are engaging with exclusives are engaging with other pay-per-views,” Patel said.
In a recent interview, Hanny Patel said that the idea of Cinema Exclusives came after solving two main issues with the state of independent movies. First, those independent movies that occupy a budgetary middle ground becoming less valuable to studios that rely on the global blockbusters, and second, those independent movies that made their way to theaters but were restricted to a few theatres in cities like New York and Los Angeles, leaving fans in other parts of the country out of luck.
“There were more and more great quality independent films being produced, but they just weren’t surfacing,” Patel said. “Studios didn’t have funding for them, so they weren’t getting a lot of love.”