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The Media Planner Job

Updated on February 26, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

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

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Need to Be Organized

The film industry, whether a senior planner or assistant media planner, there are 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 rewarding because the marketing of these films is imperative to their success. That is where a digital media planner or social media planner comes gets to work with the advertising rolling on all fronts: television, magazine, newspapers, Internet, and radio.

The media planner job is an entry-level profession where some consider it's the place where you “pay your dues.” I rather look at it as it's the place where you “learn the ropes.”

As a graduate media planner, you work very closely with the professionals who market the films. You learn and understand what it takes to make a film the weekend blockbuster or the coveted DVD.

In a nutshell, it takes long hours and perseverance while making sure all the media outlets are covered. Those outlets include movie websites, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and so forth.

We are the United States of Amnesia, which is encouraged by a media that has no desire to tell us the truth about anything, serving their corporate masters who have other plans to dominate us.

— Gore Vidal

Now Your Market

Sometimes 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.

For example, Superbowl, Olympics, World Series, Oscars, and popular network televisions shows are where the studios put their advertising dollars. The media planner follows up and makes sure the ads run during their allotted time because the studios paid big bucks for that coveted spot.

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. They track the media space and slots available for purchase, negotiate and make sure ads appear, as they are scheduled and air exactly per the agreement.

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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 or sports 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 successful interview and article all around.

To find any assistant media planner jobs 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, Internet, social media, 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 freelance 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.

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Be in the Know

The variety of media available to promote a film seems endless. When you approach the field and are looking for assistant media planner jobs, you would benefit looking into subdivisions of media planning like social media planner, digital media planner, Facebook media planner, Google media planner, and so forth. A graduate media planner needs to know their options and is familiar with each media.

© 2007 Kenna McHugh

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