The Future of Hollywood’s Publicity Engine

4 Feb

As discussed in this Sunday’s Linked in Hollywood’s editorial we will explore the future of Hollywood’s Publicity engine. In Anne Helen Petersen article The Rules of the Game she gives a comprehensive look into yesterday’s and today’s publicity by cleverly breaking it into five acts.[1] However, we are interested  in the game of the future. So we will examine her article to help us predict where the game headed. For example, will the popular TMZ be around five years from now?  Should celebrities cut out the middleman in favor of direct publicity? Can social media put the paparazzi out of business? With the popularity of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Blogs the digital age is here to stay.  The question is how will the publicity rules change?

Will TMZ be around in 5 Years?

TMZ is a celebrity news website and was founded in late 2005. TMZ stands for the (thirty-mile zone) radius from the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles California. It is the historic “studio zone” of the American Entertainment Industry. Currently, the Entertainment Industry unions use this area to determine rates and work rules for union workers. [2]

TMZ’s managing editor is Harvey Levin a lawyer turned journalist. The site claims they don’t pay for stories or interviews but since the launch of TMZ.com the website has been plagued with attempted boycotts due to its journalism tactics. TMZ heavily relies on photos and videos obtained by paparazzi who often stalk celebrities (a highly dangerous method) that many call creepy and harassing. TMZ is said to be nothing more than a gossip site that doesn’t report anything newsworthy. Will TMZ’s aggressive tactics (to get violent celebrity confrontations for a ton of online traffic) last? Can social media cut out the middleman?

Celebrities cut out the Middleman in Favor of Direct Publicity:

What is direct publicity? According to Anne Helen Petersen article The Rules of the Game she states,

…… “direct publicity has become the most effective means of establishing and texturing star image.”

How can social media help celebrities take control of their image? Petersen again states,

“We’ve gotten used to disbelieving what we see on the news, in the movies, and on television. But social media still seems to offer an authenticity that even the most mediation-weary of consumers can believe. These social-media-savvy stars are still doing tremendous amounts of image labor: Each tweet, each photo helps establish them not only as “real,” but a certain type of real, a new type of celebrity that appeals to a new type of fan.” [3]

Here are some interesting stats on social network users in the US and around the world taken in 2009. From an article entitled Demographics of Social Network Users (and Other Audience Research) it states,

Whites are less likely than African-Americans or Hispanics to have a profile on an online social network. Nearly one third 31% of online white adults have a social networking profile, compared with 43% of African-Americans and 48% of Hispanics. Overall, adults tend to use social networks for personal reasons more than professional ones (89% primarily use them to stay in touch with friends) …”[4]

If you use Twitter what does it say about your age and economic class?

“Twitter and similar services have been most avidly embraced by young adults. Nearly one in five (19%) online adults ages 18 to 24 have ever used Twitter and its ilk, as have 20% of online adults 25 to 34. Use of these services drops off steadily after age 35 with 10% of 35 to 44 year olds and 5% of 45 to 54 year olds using Twitter.”

It goes on to say,

“Given the youth of most Twitter users, it is not surprising to find that online Americans who live in lower-income households are more likely to use Twitter than more affluent Americans. Some 17% of internet users in households earning less than $30,000 tweet and update their status, compared with 10% of those earning more than $75,000 annually…”

To compare the change within a two year span. Here are some demographics from 2012 taken from Pingdom.com, Report: Social Network Demographics in 2012 it says,

Based on the United States demographics data (from Ad Planner) there is a clear gender imbalance on many of these sites. Some are much more male dominated, and vice versa. However, when you look at all the data together, it becomes clear that women rule social media. More than two thirds of the sites in this survey have more female than male users.”[5] To view more stats click here.

Can Social Media Put the Paparazzi out of Business?

Who is the “new type of fan” and “new type of celebrity” that Petersen is referring to in her article? After reviewing the above research do you know who will determine the “new type of fan and celebrity?” Will it be the fan, celebrity or paparazzi that will change the rules of the game of direct publicity?

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73 Responses to “The Future of Hollywood’s Publicity Engine”

  1. Comic Relief February 4, 2013 at 4:04 PM #

    OB,

    I want to congratulate you on finding an extremely provocative article and building another article by refining some of the more interesting topics addressed in the original. Not that anything is new in regard to how intriguing your collection and reflection are. In terms of the end result, I’m still very much impressed with scope of your investigation and your choices in terms of inspiration.

    • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:01 PM #

      CR- Thank you! What stood out to u the most in Petersen’s article?

      • Comic Relief February 5, 2013 at 8:25 PM #

        I love Anne Helen Petersen’s article, but I unfortunately I feel she drank her own Kool-Aid and lost her ability to be objective and critical. Still in all, the article is stunning for all of the facts that seem entirely true.

        I like your contribution because it attempts to test out some of her (biased) presumptions.

        • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:28 PM #

          CR- What did u find to be the most Biased in her article?

      • Comic Relief February 5, 2013 at 8:47 PM #

        Some of her examples were garbage:

        Brad and Angelina were treated like champions, though Angelina hasn’t appeared in a movie in at least 2 years. Brad’s personal life is far more interesting than any character he might play in a movie. Losing your acting career doesn’t prove the star or celebrity strategy is actually working favorably.

        She tried to refer to Beyonce’ and JZ as winners in this game also. JZ has never acted. Beyonce’ hasn’t appeared in a movie in at least 2 years. A lot of criticism regarding Beyounce’ claims her tumbler account makes her sound like a third grader and no one is willing to hide the fact that she lip-sinked during the Presidential inauguration. I agree their “extra-textual” prominence is growing yet losing your acting career doesn’t prove the star or celebrity strategy is actually working favorably.

        • Open Book February 6, 2013 at 1:58 PM #

          CR-

          U Said: “I agree their “extra-textual” prominence is growing yet losing your acting career doesn’t prove the star or celebrity strategy is actually working favorably.”

          I don’t think many see how damaging it is to their career. The hype and attention on gossip sites stories only last 2 seconds but a good performance in a movie can last forever. What is the last film that impressed u that Brad or Angelina were in?

          • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 7:46 PM #

            I’ve always seen Beyonce’s and JZ’s tumblr page (and what other social media they use) as an ego boost as well as PR. It’s like “Look at my life. How awesome is it?!!! I’m so much better at everything!” kind of thing. To me that’s just as off putting as is using it for PR purposes.

  2. parisienne February 4, 2013 at 8:42 PM #

    OB,

    You read my mind! I was going to do an article on this article! Oh well, you know what they say: Great minds think alike!

    I have the article that you posted up in another window so I can read and ask questions at the same time. 🙂

    1) I prefer the earliest days of cinema where people went to the cinema to watch the actor “act” and that is how they judged the performance (as it rightly should be) I understand wanting to know statistical information about an actor (who it is, where they are from, and all that) but why in God’s name did the studios have to go and make the actors (past and present) larger than life? They were already playing out a fantasy on-screen why have to play another fantasy off screen? This right here gets my panties in a bunch if you don’t mind me saying.

    2)Did you know that Michael Jackson kept a photo of Fatty Arbuckle next to his bed, IIRC. He once remarked that he felt he had a lot in common with him seeing as they were both slandered in the media.

    3)In the article you posted by Anne Petersen, she mentioned that stars (in the early days) always had publicists with them to help keep their “story” straight. I swore to myself I wouldn’t mention her but I’m going to do it anyway. Kristen Stewart. She constantly has a publicist present with her (Ruth Bernstein is never far from her side)

    All the different “variations” of Kristen in the media are not helping her because she sabotages herself. Also, her “girlfriends” don’t help her much either in the sexuality department from Nikki Reed to Dakota Fanning to Scout Taylor Compton have all but pretty much said she’s a lesbian. Kristen even said so twice. So why try to sell her as heterosexual? Her lovers can’t keep their mouths shut and neither can she plus she can’t hide it anyway. She may have had a thing with Rupert (which led to his divorce) but she can’t hide what she truly prefers.

    OTOH, Robert Pattinson does not have a publicist but does he really need one? IMO, when you’re going up someone like Ruth you sure as hell need one because she’s used him to help further Katy Perry (another client of hers)

    However, Robert has “something” a light if you will that he brings to every project he does. It even touches people he’s around for some reason Robert Pattinson has the IT factor and people will exploit him until he is rundown. He needs to nip it in the bud.

    • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:03 PM #

      Paris-Even though we share the same brain. LOL! I still want u to write an article on this topic. It would be nice to get a different perspective. Petersen covers so much history that it was difficult dwindle it down and focus on the later part of her article. However, what stood out for me most after reading was the future and how can actors avoid becoming reality TV, scandal media celebs today? I like to think the “new fan” will be more interested in the work of the actor instead of some pre-fab, synthetic personality no one believes. IMO with social media its hard for celebs to hide who they really are because people can spend hours analyzing YouTube videos, photos and interviews etc. I would much rather hear an actor discuss their process and approach then what shampoo they use. I really admired how Marlon Brando handled his career. Do u think Brando’s celebrity is possible today?

      • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:05 PM #

        I’ll work on it. 🙂 I don’t know what Marlon Brando did in order to handle his career. The only thing I remember, IIRC, his son had some type of drug problem.

        • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:19 PM #

          O.k.!!! Actually, I was referring to the Brando example in Petersen’s article.

    • cOMIC RELIEF February 5, 2013 at 8:20 PM #

      “I prefer the earliest days of cinema where people went to the cinema to watch the actor “act” and that is how they judged the performance (as it rightly should be) I understand wanting to know statistical information about an actor (who it is, where they are from, and all that) but why in God’s name did the studios have to go and make the actors (past and present) larger than life?”

      Nice question but to be honest Paris; I don’t think YOU are cooperating with the author, though she is definitely discussing actors the “game” she is speaking of is the celebrity game. Though this article is sweeping in its scope I don’t think the acting profession is dead yet.

      • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:31 PM #

        CR,

        I never co-operate with anything. 🙂

        • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:44 PM #

          Hahaha! Love it!!

          • Comic Relief February 5, 2013 at 8:49 PM #

            You know, I keep hearing that.

  3. ozzie20 February 5, 2013 at 6:07 PM #

    Wow! Great article OB! Hopefully I’ll manage to stay awake for tonight’s discussion as it looks like it’s going to be good! I’m interested in what new ways publicity can take. I hope it’s better than some of the ones around at the moment, IYKWIM! 🙂

    • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:04 PM #

      Thanks Ozzie-

      How would u like to see “direct” publicity evolve? Currently, celebs are using Twitter and Tumblr and Blogs for direct publicity. Do u think that type of publicity is effective in eliminating the stalkarazzi, gossip culture that currently exist today?

      • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 7:58 PM #

        Hhhhmmm. I suppose so but I’m also happy with just professional type interviews that only come out during a films promotion. Do I think that will eliminate gossip rags? Probably not. The public has an insaitiable need to know everything about which ever celebrity they like. The gossip rags fill in the stretches of time between a films promotion. 😦

    • Comic Relief February 5, 2013 at 8:27 PM #

      Hi Ozzie,

      I don’t think you’re going to have trouble sleeping during the discussion tonight.

  4. parisienne February 5, 2013 at 7:02 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

    • littlebells February 5, 2013 at 7:09 PM #

      Hi! I’m glad OB wanted to do an article on this. When i read it, i thought it was perfect and I learned a lot.

      • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:06 PM #

        Thank u LB for finding and sharing this with us. What did u learn from the article?

        • littlebells February 5, 2013 at 8:19 PM #

          Basically that it is all smoke and mirrors and PR is not going away anytime soon.

          • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:21 PM #

            DO u think social media has hurt or encouraged the stalkarazzi publicity machine? How do u see it evolving?

            • littlebells February 5, 2013 at 9:22 PM #

              I think it has done both. The more social media attention, the more encouragement there is. And at the same, it hurts stars images and makes those that believe the hype look even more stupid.

              • Open Book February 6, 2013 at 2:02 PM #

                Thanks LB!!

                Can u give an example of someone that has believed the hype and now look stupid?

  5. parisienne February 5, 2013 at 7:18 PM #

    Me too. Although I haven’t finished reading it all the way.

    Hi!

    • Comic Relief February 5, 2013 at 8:28 PM #

      Paris,

      You should finish reading it. The end is the most controversial.

  6. parisienne February 5, 2013 at 7:19 PM #

    Don’t even get me started on Twitter. I would be here all night going off on a rant. LOL

    • littlebells February 5, 2013 at 7:33 PM #

      Facebook is it for me and even then I’m private. Haha!

    • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:14 PM #

      In my research above they say the Twitter demographic are mostly adolescent, uneducated and low income. DO u believe those stats? If Yes, why?

      • littlebells February 5, 2013 at 8:21 PM #

        From most of the spelling and grammatical errors I hear about, yes. I’m assuimg these people have more time on their hands. Also most grown ups don’t really give two pennies that you are eating a Big Mac or whatever.

        • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

          I plead the fifth.

          • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:26 PM #

            Hahaha! Ah! Come on I double dog dare u?

            • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:33 PM #

              All the people that use it to bully people need to stop.

              • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:42 PM #

                Bravo!! Great answer.

              • littlebells February 5, 2013 at 9:24 PM #

                I can’t believe I forgot that aspect! I was just blinded by the stupidity of twitter.

                • Open Book February 6, 2013 at 2:05 PM #

                  Its very easy to do LB. Twitter really lure people in with words like easy, quick and irresponsible. Hahaha!

  7. parisienne February 5, 2013 at 7:26 PM #

    The one thing that I question about old hollywood I’ll never understand is why make up all the backstories and the lies? People need to know that actors are just like them and have the same struggles they do (trust me)

    • littlebells February 5, 2013 at 7:35 PM #

      I have never understood that either. Again that’s why I appreciate people like Daniel day Lewis and diCaprio who don’t give the media anything.

      • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

        IA. There are some couples that get married and have kids and no one knows until they show up with rings on their fingers and a baby in a carrier.

      • Comic Relief February 5, 2013 at 8:52 PM #

        LB,

        Through in Cate Blanchet and I’m joining your fan club.

        • littlebells February 5, 2013 at 9:25 PM #

          Hi CR!

          Yes, CB is another one. There are actually many HW actors/actresses who stay out of the spotlight and are very successful because their careers are built on their TALENT and not what PR games can promote them.

  8. Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:01 PM #

    Hi Everyone-Sorry I’m late.

    • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:03 PM #

      Hi OB! How are you?

      • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:07 PM #

        Hi Paris! I’m feeling much better. Thank u! How about u?

        • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:08 PM #

          I’m doing well. 🙂

  9. Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:09 PM #

    This is for everyone-

    How would u define the “new celebrity” and “new fan” of tomorrow with social media?

    • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:14 PM #

      Well I would define the “new celebrity” as a person who doesn’t rely on social media to connect with fans. I understand having to promote oneself but there must be boundaries within that. Unfortunately, studios have no boundaries.

      The “new fan” just wants to enjoy the actor’s work. Take Robsten for example, everyone is sick of the lies. They only worked for a short time because they were fed to people who choose to believe in a lie.

      • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:17 PM #

        What boundaries would u define as acceptable for a celebrity when they need to promote their work?

      • littlebells February 5, 2013 at 8:22 PM #

        I would really like to see this happen.

        • littlebells February 5, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

          I meant to add how it depends on how far we continue to dumb down America.

          • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:30 PM #

            Would u say Twitter and gossip rags are contributing to this problem in America?

            • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:35 PM #

              I think the gossip rags always have but its worse now because everyone has camera phones and all this technological nonsense. It seems like it makes it extremely easy to stalk people.

              • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:41 PM #

                I know I can’t stand them. I also think camera phones makes it easy for jerks to get away with crossing boundaries because they are so widely used. Please don’t get me started. Let me take a breath. LOL!!

              • littlebells February 5, 2013 at 9:27 PM #

                I HATE CAMERA PHONES WHEN IT COMES TO STALKING AND INVADING OTHER PEOPLE’S PRIVACY!!!!! I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT!!!!

  10. parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:19 PM #

    Don’t overshare your personal life even if the celebrity doesn’t do it and someone else does. Everyone has the right to have a personal life but it bugs me that fans think they personally “know” a celebrity and can say stuff to them because they think its cute and personal. Rubs me the wrong way.

    • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:24 PM #

      I love u Paris!! I’m going to dig a little deeper. Can u give me an example of the type of stuff fans will say to a celeb that’s too personal?

      • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:28 PM #

        Sure. I’m going to use R and K for it. Kristen made fun of Rob and calls him Flippy because (according to her) he looks like a penguin when doing stunts. Well that information was made public and people that think they are together would go to the red carpet and call Rob Flippy because they didn’t understand that she was mocking him. They think its her nickname for him. That’s not terribly personal but its what I had in mind.

        Also the sharing of the e-mails from his Dad on Leno backfired on him too. So don’t share anything personal.

        • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:37 PM #

          Thank u for sharing! Why do u think fans try to act overly familiar with people they have never met? Granted u see them in interviews but that does not give u the right to cross personal space and boundaries etc…My point is. Do u think fans think its ok because its their way of trying to normalize fanatic behavior? What do u think?

          • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:41 PM #

            I think they think its ok because they’ve been given a false sense of identification from the celebrities and their teams. The fans so badly want E/B to be real that it doesn’t matter what boundaries are set.

            I take that back. They want to be “right” so badly (R/K really are together) that they will cross any boundary to prove it.

            • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:48 PM #

              U Said: “They want to be “right” so badly (R/K really are together) that they will cross any boundary to prove it.”

              Do u think fans have done this because they a starved for approval, attention and acceptance regardless if it hurts the celebrity or other people?

              • parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:51 PM #

                OB,

                Get out of my head. LOL! yes I do think that. However, I see the worst behavior from adult women. Most of the teens (or were teens then) have moved on.

                • Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:54 PM #

                  Gosh! These adult women fans today make me want to switch teams. Hahaha! JK!!

                • Open Book February 6, 2013 at 2:41 PM #

                  Paris-

                  Let me add. I think the reason these adult women are obsessing because they desperately need to be validated. The media and society tells women the older u get the less u matter. They are exhibiting adolescent behavior because they see it in the media as cool. OMGosh!! These women have internalized the problem. Its sad all this energy these women are putting into following Twilight/Robsten/50 Shades is not being used to advocate for better representation of adult women in the media.

  11. Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:50 PM #

    Before I go for the night I have one last Q.

    Can u name a celebrity today who is similar to Brando who is unwilling to play the publicity game?

  12. parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:51 PM #

    No because they all play it to some extent. Some are more subtle at it then others.

  13. Open Book February 5, 2013 at 8:51 PM #

    Everyone thanks for joining me tonight. We will continue this discussion tomorrow. I hope u will join us.

    TC!

  14. parisienne February 5, 2013 at 8:53 PM #

    Have a good night everyone!

  15. Open Book February 6, 2013 at 2:17 PM #

    Everyone-

    I have a few more questions before we conclude this topic.

    1. How often do u look up actors on the Internet?

    2. When u look up celebs on the Internet what do u look for and why?

    3. Do u ever watch TMZ or visit their site?

    • littlebells February 6, 2013 at 3:49 PM #

      1. Mmmmm…not that often. I usually only look them up if I am watching a film and I am not familiar with an actor, looking for a particular hairdo, or trying to prove my husband that the person he thinks he is watching is NOT that person but someone else. 🙂

      2. Film repetoire, hairstyles (very rarely), and interesting tidbits of BTS on films. Wow, that sounds pretty boring.

      3. Nope! I’ve worked hard to keep and challenge the braincells I have been given. 🙂

      • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 8:10 PM #

        1) Often. I couldn’t give an exact number as it varies from month to month.

        2) IMDB (wikipedia if there’s nothing on IMDB which is very rare) to find out where I’ve seen that actor before, lol!

        3) Very, very, very, rarely!

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