Hollywood Media (ticker: HOLL), which owns Hollywood.com, Broadway.com and 26% of MovieTickets.com, is implementing RSS feeds with interesting results. Here's quick outline of what HOLL is doing with RSS, and a comment about the potential financial impact:
Hollywood Media has set up seven granular RSS feeds for Hollywood.com. They are:
- Trailers and More
- New Movies this Week
- Weekend Box Office Top 10
- Recent News
- New Reviews
- Celeb Birthdays
- Celeb Photos
HOLL also seems to have negotiated agreements with RSS aggregator firms Pluck and Newsgator. Both aggregators are offered for download on Hollywood.com, and Hollywood.com's RSS feeds are included as pre-installed default feeds.
Comment: Hollywood.com is a cluttered and user-unfriendly site. But it's filled with outstanding content: reviews, trailers, news, gossip, and purchase of movie tickets (something that competitor IMDB.com doesn't offer). Hollywood Media has said that it's planning a fundamental site redesign this year. But meanwhile, RSS feeds allow users to bypass the clutter and get direct access to the content they want. (I'm particularly enjoying the RSS feed for movie trailers.)
Some upside possibilities:
- Hollywood.com takes market share from competitors IMDB.com, Movies.com, and portal sites like Yahoo! Movies, none of which seem to have yet implemented granular RSS feeds.
- RSS feeds on Broadway.com could offer last minute deals on Broadway tickets. Currently, Broadway.com simply trashes unsold Broadway tickets, so the financial impact would be 100% of the revenue generated from any last minute sales.
- RSS feeds for individual movie theaters on MovieTickets.com? That would allow users to sign up for an RSS feed containing movies and showtimes from their local movie theater; clicking on the link would take you to a page on MovieTickets.com where you could purchase the ticket online.
And the downside? RSS feeds allow users to bypass Hollywood.com's ad-filled home page, and to find content with less navigation. That means fewer home page views and ad impressions for Hollywood.com. One way of looking at the impact of RSS: it's like stripping off the front page of a newspaper, and giving readers direct access to everything inside without requiring a contents page.
Bottom line? My guess is the financial impact will be positive, even in the short-run. The RSS feeds for movie trailers and reviews could attract thousands of regular subscribers to Hollywood.com's content, and the future financial benefit of ad sales on internal pages probably outweighs any reduction in home page views and ad impressions.
Quick comment: The NY Times currently offers an RSS feed of its movie reviews. But the reviews are not titled with the name of the movie, and are arguably too long for comfortable reading on a computer screen. Hollywood's shorter reviews titled with the name of the movie therefore work better in RSS.
Full disclosure: at the time of writing I'm long HOLL.