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  • Trailer (promotion)

    Movie trailers have now become popular on DVDs and Blu-ray discs, as well as on the Internet and mobile devices. Of some 10 billion videos watched online annually, film trailers rank third, after news and user-created video. The trailer format has also been adopted as a promotional tool for television shows, video games, books, and theatrical events/concerts.

    Trailers were initially shown after, or "trailing", the feature film, and this led to their being called "trailers". The practice was found to be somewhat ineffective, often ignored by audiences who left immediately after the feature. Later, exhibitors changed their practice so that trailers were only one part of the film program, which included cartoon shorts, newsreels, and serial adventure episodes. Today, more elaborate trailers and commercial advertisements have largely replaced other forms of pre-feature entertainment, and in major multiplex chains, about the first 20 minutes after the posted showtime is devoted to trailers.

    Many home videos contain trailers for other movies produced by the same company scheduled to be available shortly after the legal release of the video, so as not to spend money advertising the videos on TV. Most VHS tapes would play them at the beginning of the tape, but some VHS tapes contained previews at the end of the film or at both ends of the tape. VHS tapes that contained trailers at the end usually reminded the viewer to "Stay tuned after the feature for more previews." With DVDs and Blu-rays, trailers can operate as a bonus feature instead of having to watch through the trailers before the film.

    In January 2014, the movie theater trade group National Association of Theatre Owners issued an industry guideline asking that film distributors supply trailers that run no longer than 2 minutes, which is 30 second shorter than the prior norm. The guideline is not mandatory, and also allows for limited exceptions of a select few movies having longer trailers. Film distributors reacted coolly to the announcement. There had been no visible disputes on trailer running time prior to the guideline, which surprised many.

    One of the most famous "special shoot" trailers is that used for the 1960s thriller Psycho, which featured director Alfred Hitchcock giving viewers a guided tour of the Bates Motel, eventually arriving at the infamous shower. At this point, the soft-spoken Hitchcock suddenly throws the shower curtain back to reveal Vera Miles with a blood-curdling scream. As the trailer, in fact, was made after completion of the film when Janet Leigh was no longer available for filming, Hitchcock had Miles don a blonde wig for the fleeting sequence. Since the title, "Psycho", instantly covers most of the screen, the switch went unnoticed by audiences for years until freeze-frame analysis clearly revealed that it was Vera Miles and not Janet Leigh in the shower during the trailer.

    Trailers tell the story of a film in a highly condensed fashion to have maximum appeal. In the decades since film marketing has become a large industry, trailers have become highly polished pieces of advertising, able to present even poor movies in an attractive light. Some of the elements common to many trailers are listed below. Trailers are typically made up of scenes from the film they are promoting, but sometimes contain deleted scenes from the film.

    National Screen Service contracts required that trailers be returned (at the cinema's expense) or destroyed, however it required no proof of destruction and depositing them in a waste bin counted. A market for trailers evolved as it became clear that some had a commercial value to collectors. Many of the trailers for films like the Star Wars series reported as 'destroyed' were taken back out of the bin and sold by cinema staff. As they cost about $60 each to make (1981 estimate) and were hired to the cinema for $10, such losses led to NSS increasing its rental charges, which led to a decrease in the number of trailers rented and shown to audiences.

    A book trailer is a video advertisement for a book which employs techniques similar to those of movie trailers to promote books and encourage readers. These trailers can also be referred to as "video-podcasts", with higher quality trailers being called "cinematic book trailers". They are circulated on television and online in most common digital video formats. Common formats of book trailers include actors performing scenes from the book akin to a movie trailer, full production trailers, flash videos, animation or simple still photos set to music with text conveying the story. This differs from author readings and interviews, which consist of video footage of the author narrating a portion of their writing or being interviewed. Early book trailers consisted mostly of still images of the book, with some videos incorporating actors, with John Farris's book trailer for his 1986 novel Wildwood incorporating images from the book cover along with actors such as John Zacherle.

    Every year there are two main events that give awards to outstanding film trailers: The Key Art Awards, presented by The Hollywood Reporter, and the Golden Trailer Awards. The Golden Trailer Awards and the Key Art Awards pick winners in all creative parts of film advertising, from trailers and TV spots to posters and print ads. The Golden Trailer Awards are currently expanding to add a sister event, The World Trailer Awards, to be a kickoff to the Cannes Film Festival in France, 2013. The yearly Key Art Awards ceremony is often held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. The Film Informant also recognizes movie marketing media and held the first annual TFI Awards in early January 2012. The site is the first to officially start recognizing and rating movie marketing media on a daily basis.