As modern printing and distribution costs continue to rise for movie posters, many movie studios are choosing to promote their films through television and the internet. We have seen digital media start to overtake printed media. Although both share similarities in their fundamental aims, digital media has the capability to reach and attract a far bigger audience.
Digital media can be presented in a variety of formats such as social media portals such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, through the movie studios own websites, through film-oriented websites like IMDb, various fan or review blogs and emails which can reach a global mass market. With internet usage globally surpassing over three billion users – around 40% of the world’s population – and with 50% of internet usage based on searching, it makes a clear statement as to why movie studios have chosen to focus on digital markets.
Through the use of film-oriented websites like IMDb trailers and other promotional material can be placed readily and easily accessible to the masses. It offers the movie studios an opportunity to place a wealth of information that just cannot be placed on a movie poster. These are the advantages which have consolidated digital marketing above printed media.
As well as utilising digital media on the internet, many cinemas are now going ‘digital’ by replacing traditional movie poster frames with digital video screens. Digital movie posters offer the ability to show movie trailers, animated stills or simple animations to tease the moviegoers and generate excitement. The panels can be rotated to show multiple movies in one frame thus eliminating the need for a single framed movie poster. I would expect autostereoscopic displays to be used in the future, depending upon how quickly the technology can be developed, which will provide 3D images without the need for any special headgear or glasses.
Movie posters have been powerful visual aids used in the promotion of the film’s using themes and narratives. Analysing movie posters in relation to major film stars and cult films, they had the ability to express the movies characteristics, for example, movie posters containing Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe reflected their iconic statuses that was instantly recognisable with audiences. This also applies to movie posters for cult films, which contain familiar attributes which devotees of the titles. Despite this, the movie poster as an industry is becoming increasingly dominated by digital marketing rendering paper formats obsolete. Digital marketing has the ability to contain far more information, in various different formats and can be instantly updated; this is unmatched by a printed movie poster.
Will this mean the demise and eventually end of the paper movie poster? Will this mean that those uniquely designed iconic masterpieces will no longer be available in a paper format? Ultimately, who knows but with a world more focused on technology and rumours that some studios are already limiting the print runs of movie posters, it could. However, the artistic creativity used to develop these posters will continue whatever the medium used to deliver the material, as it remains an important aspect for movies that strive for originality and artistic quality.