Universal Studios is an American film studio based in California, part of Hollywood's "Big Six" studios. Universal, often stylized as Universal Pictures, is owned by the cable conglomerate Comcast and is one of the oldest movie studios in the world (it was founded in 1912). Today, the studio has fully embraced social media and other digital platforms to help promote its slate of films--from broadcasting red carpet events to creating the world's first Snapchat ad to engaging with writers on Wattpad. And the company's attention to marketing is paying off--its global box office of $6.9 billion was the highest grossing year for any studio in history, and it broke records when it reached the $5 billion mark at the box office in July--the fastest sprint to that milestone of any studio in history. Much of that success comes from a willingness to try everything and a culture that integrates digital into the front end of releases, rather than tacking it on as an afterthought. That means marketing can start during production, as it did with Pitch Perfect 2's Snapchat channel, and continue beyond opening weekend on the strength of original content. One of the farthest-reaching campaigns Universal Studio launched was the "Straight Outta Somewhere" meme generator in tandem with the release of Straight Outta Compton in 2015. The generator collected 6 million downloads and likely contributed to the movie becoming the highest-grossing music biopic of all time. In 2016, Universal is again heading into sequel-itis territory, with the next installments of the Bourne, Ride Along, and Bridget Jones films--as well as My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. The challenge for the company will be to handle these launches with the same deftness that it displayed in 2015.
The company's competitive advantage in 2016:
Deep pockets and an integrated marketing approach
A strong digital team that is quick to respond to changes in social media
The biggest challenges standing in this company's way in 2016:
Finding novel ways to engage new audiences and a lack of tentpole movies on the 2016 roster, as well as the changing behavior of media consumers, who are increasingly spending their time watching small screens and playing video games as opposed to buying movie tickets.
What to look out for:
Universal has two highly anticipated summer movies: the next "Jason Bourne" installment, which reunites Matt Damon with director Paul Greengrass; and The Secret Life of Pets, the latest animated film from Illumination Entertainment.
Top perks for employees:
Paid vacation time, flexible schedules, tuition reimbursement, child and adult care, adoption assistance, movie screening access, Universal Parks and Resorts discounts, leadership development and mentoring programs.
Social media handles:
31% people of color