5 Content Marketing Lessons From National Cinemedia’s Pre-Movie Show “FirstLook”

A content marketing lesson learned from National Cinemedia's preshow FirstLookI went to the movies with my 3 sons a month or so ago and received an unexpected content marketing lesson.  How?  Here is what happened.


We showed up early (a miracle!) and found our seats.

As we waited for the movie, a “pre-show” program came on that National CineMedia produces called “FirstLook.”

As I sat there watching, I realized it was all content marketing!

How was it content marketing?  Well, first of all, it wasn’t just commercials.  

Wikipedia describes “FirstLook” like this, “First Look consists of pre-show advertising and entertainment, provided by content partners such as A&E Television Networks, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Turner Broadcasting System, Cartoon Network, Walt Disney Motion Pictures and Warner Bros.”

The program we saw had interviews with stars and bonus clips from different movies and shows. While we sat there we learned about:

  • A new TV show on ABC called Nashville
  • A show on Cartoon Network called The Amazing World of Gumball
  • We saw extended footage from the movie Hotel Transylvania
  • A preview of a movie about the Oogieloves (which look like Teletubbies for a new generation)

Not only that, in-between all the content there were commercials for Target, Samsung mobile, Six Flags amusement park, and other companies!


A Closer Look At “FirstLook”

The “FirstLook” Program is a very strategic content marketing vehicle.  Look how strategic they are:

  • It is 20 minutes long and timed to end at the movie’s start time. (When they start playing more content marketing we call “trailers.”)
  • It is designed specifically for the audience.
  • If it’s a G or PG movie, then they play a children’s version called “FirstLook Play,” which features shows and movies that are directed at kids.
  • If the movie is in 3D, then they will show a special “First Look 3D” after the regular “FirstLook” program.

It’s an ingenious idea isn’t it? Think about it…

They created content as an incentive to get people to come to the theater a little early (or reward  the “early birds”), then they use the content itself to promote shows and movies and finally sell commercial time in-between it all!


5 Content Marketing Lessons From “FirstLook”

There are many lessons we can learn from “FirstLook,” but here are five takeaways for you:

1. Figure out ways to gather an audience from one that already exists.

2. Partner with others who are willing to create content for your audience, because they want to reach the same people.

3. Make sure you always create your content with a specific “audience” in mind.

4. If you create content that entertains and educates enough people, you will eventually create a “space” where you can generate income.

5. Once you gather an audience, you can then think of ways to monetize your efforts by promoting your own products or services and other people’s products or services.

Want Help?

If you would like help applying these lessons to your business, then call me  or contact me here to set up a free 1-hour call with me.

Source: The background info I used about “FirstLook” is from Wikipedia.


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Scott Aughtmon
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to ContentMarketingInstitute.com and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave.

I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999.

===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.

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