June 30, 2020

To VOD or not to VOD?

How COVID-19 is transforming the movie industry

Leading up to COVID-19, the entertainment industry was in a state of flux. Consumers were increasingly moving to streaming and on-demand services, forcing movie studios to closely examine the post-theatrical life cycle of their movies. Further complicating the situation, the coronavirus pandemic upended life as we know it. Large gatherings were banned around the world, and movie theaters were among the early venues to shutter, meaning studios had to quickly — and completely — rethink the release and marketing strategies for their latest films.

Here at Diesel Labs, we’ve been monitoring the impact of studios’ decisions, and have put together a report that examines how the movie ecosystem is transforming as a result. We specifically dug into the Content Analytics (demographics, engagement and audience insights) for Universal Pictures’ Trolls World Tour, given its breakout performance and role in demonstrating to the industry that releasing movies straight to VOD* can be a viable strategy.

Get the report.

Here’s what you’ll find in the report:

Trolls World Tour: Breaking down success through the lens of Content Analytics

This section examines how Universal Pictures found success with the VOD release of Trolls World Tour, as well as Content Analytics around how it compares to similar movies, audience demographics and engagement data.

Unpacking the decision: Release to VOD vs. delay

To get the full picture of what’s happened to the movie industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we analyzed how genre and previous cost/revenue trends may have affected studios’ decision to delay films or release to VOD.

Key takeaways

Despite the breakout success of Trolls World Tour, our analysis suggests that VOD may not always be an easy substitute for a theatrical release. Best practices will need to be established in order to set a film up for success with this new distribution format, and our analysis illuminated a few things for studios to keep in mind.

Get the report.

*We are opting to use the broad term VOD to refer to digital release, as some movies are released to PVOD (like Trolls World Tour) and others to SVOD (like Artemis Fowl to Disney+) and both are ultimately revenue-driving strategies. The analysis period for this report is March 1 through June 15, 2020.