Branson and Google 'substitute cinema with YouTube'

Breaking the Taboo: anti-drugs campaign debuts on YouTube
Breaking the Taboo: anti-drugs campaign debuts on YouTube

A documentary about the war on drugs produced by Sir Richard Branson's son is premiering free on YouTube for a limited month-long "online window'" in a trial breaking the norms of film marketing.

Google has partnered with Sam Branson's production company Sundog Pictures to help ‘Breaking the Taboo’ reach a global audience, in an alternative to the custom of breaking documentaries in cinemas, a process called the ‘theatrical window’. 

Sundog Pictures has created its own branded channel on YouTube for a month long "online window" with traffic being driven to the site via the YouTube homepage, marketing on the site and celebrity endorsements.

Alan Sugar, Gary Barlow, Peter Jones and Mia Farrow are promoting the documentary on Twitter using the hashtag #breakthetaboo, while video teasers for the documentary, narrated by Morgan Freeman, have starred Kate Winslet and Dizzee Rascal.

It is not clear whether Google and Sundog Pictures will be sharing marketing costs for the high-profile campaign, designed to get the documentary aired on TV by mid-2013.

The film goes live on YouTube tomorrow (7 December) after premieres hosted by Google in London yesterday and New York today. No advertising will be shown during the documentary.

London's premiere included a panel discussion attended by Richard Branson, who is a commissioner for the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Johnny Webb, managing director at Sundog, said: "It's incredibly difficult to get significant theatrical distribution even for the most acclaimed feature documentary, and even then you can measure audiences in the tens of thousands.

"By substituting cinema with YouTube, we believe we can reach millions of people rather than thousands, and create a virtuous circle of promotion which will boost viewing in the global TV window."

Webb, formerly the managing director of Virgin Media TV and Living TV Group in the UK, joined Sundog in March.

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer