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Yahoo! Says Hooray For Hollywood

18 Mar, 2002 By: Holly J. Wagner

Yahoo! is diving into the entertainment waters to full depth, forging new marketing agreements with studios and surveying its own customers about how much they would pay for video-on-demand (VOD) content.

Entertainment has long been a mainstay of one of the Internet's most successful portals, but last year the company quietly extended its presence in the Los Angeles area with the purchase of Launch Media. Plans for the future reportedly include a rollout of a cobranded high-speed Internet Service Provider (ISP) via broadband line provider SBC Communications. Under that deal, Yahoo! will supply the content and SBC the services.

Just what that content will include is still up in the air, but over the weekend Yahoo! began surveying users about what type of content would appeal to them – including $2.95 movies on demand, sports events, soap opera updates and what sounds like a reality TV version of "Sex and the City."

Then today the company opened a new office in Santa Monica, a mere stone's throw from struggling MGM.

The new office launch comes on the heels of promotional deals with Artisan Pictures and Fox Filmed Entertainment.

The deal with Artisan kicks off with support for the upcoming movie National Lampoon's Van Wilder, due April 5, across the Yahoo! network in the form of exclusive editorial content from Artisan, an integrated marketing campaign, streaming video elements, a national sweepstakes, and tie-ins with the film's offline marketing programs.

Yahoo! Movies leads the studio's push to reach a target audience of 18- to 24-year-olds and will include a new expanding ad format that lets consumers interact with content from the film within the ad unit itself.

"Through this wide-reaching promotion with Yahoo!, we are able to expose National Lampoon's Van Wilder to one of the largest audiences of movie fans on the Web," said Amorette Jones, EVP of worldwide marketing, Artisan Pictures. "Our promotional program enables movie fans to experience many elements of National Lampoon's Van Wilder before they see the film in their local theatres. Yahoo!'s rich media platform directly supports our marketing efforts by providing movie fans online with video clips, images and information."

Fox warmed to Yahoo! with a package to promote Ice Age, the CGI animation feature that stormed the Box Office over the weekend, and Tom Cruise's upcoming thriller Minority Report, directed by Steven Spielberg.

The deal also covers promotions for the video releases of Don't Say A Word starring Michael Douglas; the Farrelly brothers' comedy Shallow Hal starring Gwyneth Paltrow; and the military adventure Behind Enemy Lines with Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson.

"The agreement represents Fox's largest advertising commitment to an Internet media company to date, and reflects the increasing consumer shift to new media resources for information on filmed entertainment," a spokesperson said.

The partnership will, for the first time, let the companies monitor the effectiveness of the online marketing on Fox's theatrical ticket sales and home entertainment purchases.

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