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Entertainment Job: The Media Planner

Updated on December 12, 2017
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna has worked in the entertainment business for over 20 years, promoting special events with musicians, celebrities, and dignitaries.


Need to Be Organized

The film industry has media planners who work in the marketing departments for film distributors like Sony, Sony Classics, Dreamworks, Miramax, Universal and MGM. Working with such companies can really be a reward because the marketing of these films is imperative to their success. That is where the media planner comes in to get the advertising rolling on all fronts: television, magazine, newspapers, Internet and radio.

Media planner is an entry-level profession where some consider it’s where you “pay your dues.” I rather look at it, as it’s where you “learn the ropes.” As a media planner, you work very close with the professionals who market the films. You get a feel for what it takes to make a film the weekend blockbuster or the coveted DVD.


Now Your Market

Some times millions of dollars will go into promoting and marketing a movie. Understanding the media as a promotional tool is vital. You need to know where to place the commercials to promote your movie effectively – it’s called demographics. A media planner needs to have the ability to determine editorial content, programming for potential media use.

As a media planner, you are not in charge, but you do get the job done. You are told where, when and what to air the commercials for the next movie coming out. A whole department team counts on you to get the media booked for the effective promotion and marketing of the film.

A media planner needs to know math to turn information over to media buyers for the new film who track the media space and slots available for purchase, negotiate and make sure ads appear, as they should exactly scheduled.


Marketing is Where it is at

You wouldn’t promote a children’s Disney movie on the Evening News. You would promote the movie on kid programs. Like when kids watch television on Saturday mornings.

Media planners work in large cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Most film distributors have offices in the larger cities and promote key films that reflect those cities. Most of the work is done from either Los Angeles or New York.

I remember trying to get an interview with a director of an independent film, and I had to deal with both offices in New York and Los Angeles. I got the interview, which was a success all around.

To be a media planner you have to have excellent people skills, be willing to solve problems, be creative, have excellent communication skills and use common sense. A media planner for the film industry needs to be in tune with the trades, culture, values and audiences. They need to know the latest technology and implementing it for their customer’s advantage and success.

Working for the film industry as a media planner one can be expected to work 50 plus hours a week because you have to put together proposals for your department seniors in a very short amount of time. Advertising is a high stress, competitive business, but there is a pay-off in the end – successful movie and a great future in the film business.

© 2007 Kenna McHugh


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