NEW YORK (WABC) -- For decades, movie studios have used trailers to try to bring people in to the theater. But in today's climate of near-nonstop smartphone use, trailers have had to adapt and become much, much shorter.
Hollywood has been boasting of movies "coming soon to a theater near you" for a century, with trailers typically lasting a couple of minutes
But in a world of short attention spans, that seems like an eternity to the young moviegoers executives hope to reach.
"People pull their phone out of their pocket 85 times a day," Richard Rabbat said. "They're not looking for a two-and-a-half-minute trailer. They're looking for a little entertainment, like three, four, five seconds."
And so Rabbat has come up with a new way to use the trailers movie studios produce, allowing fans to cut those previews into short, video files called gifs, lasting just a few seconds and repeating over and over.
"I pick the trailer that I want, and I say, I'm going to start at one minute and I'm going to take three seconds," he said. "I see what I'm producing, and I share it immediately with my friends and family."
The idea is to share the gifs on social media.
"You turn your audience into your own marketers," Rabbat said. "You turn them into viral marketers."
Instead of watching a trailer passively, moviegoers can create their own content using the high-priced visuals provided by Hollywood.
"The trailer that you're watching becomes much more interactive," Rabbat said.
To make it even easier, a selection of gifs are pre-cut and ready to use. Rabat's company, called Gfycat, offers these tools for free and takes money from the studios, where executives are happy to reach millions at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.
"Because we have such an amazing device in our pocket that's available to us at the all the time, those are the places where movie marketers need to reach their audiences," Rabbat said.
Shrinking attention spans create market for gif movie trailers
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