Looking for Oscar-Nominated Movies Online? Good Luck.

by Daniel Haim

Trying to find out more about The King’s Speech before the 83rd Annual Academy Awards air this weekend? You won’t find anything about the film at TheKingsSpeech.com; you’ll have to go to KingsSpeech.com instead. In anticipation of this year’s Oscars, FairWinds Partners sought to analyze trends in how film studios and their distribution partners have used domain names to promote movies over the past decade, focusing specifically the nominees for the Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as the highest grossing movie, for each year from 2000 to 2010.

Because the movie industry incurs significant losses from digital downloads and other online counterfeiting, FairWinds expected that by 2010, certain industry-wide Internet standards would have emerged. Among those should be a standard domain name construction that makes it easier for fans to predict addresses and access official, industry-produced content. However, it turns out there is still no uniformity among which domain names studios and distributors use to host official movie websites.

The study revealed that a very small portion of movies advertise a domain name that consists of simply the movie title and the extension .COM. The most recent example in our study was 2008’s The Dark Knight, which advertised TheDarkKnight.com. As an alternative, many movies add the word “movie” or “film” to the domain, but vary as to how: some use just “movie,” others use “the movie,” and still others use a hyphen, as in “-movie.” For example, where Inception advertised the domain InceptionMovie.com, last year’s Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker advertised TheHurtLocker-Movie.com.

Given that the movies produced by major studios often have enormous marketing budgets, it may be worth it for studios and their distribution partners to invest in registering or acquiring the best, or most intuitive, domain names for the movies they produce – the domains that movie fans are most likely to type in when seeking to access movie-related content. Avatar, for example, had a production budget of over $200 million, but ultimately did not acquire Avatar.com, opting instead to register AvatarMovie.com. Avatar.com is shorter and easier for movie goers to remember. FairWinds’ study proves that there is a huge opportunity for studios to improve their marketing techniques in this area.

To learn more about the movie industry’s practices regarding domain names, as well as our recommendations on how it can use domains to improve marketing efforts and deliver a better experience to fans, read the full study on the FairWinds website.