Moviefone, 'Lord' site success prompt prod'n co. to spend online

HOLLYWOOD — The marriage between Time Warner and America Online may not be official, but subsid New Line Cinema and the Internet service provider are already on a honeymoon.

New Line has expanded its pact with AOL in a deal that prominently positions the studio’s pics across all of AOL’s properties and makes AOL New Line’s exclusive ad rep on the Web.

New Line did not have an advertising sales arm for its online properties before, because it did not sell ad space on its Web sites, which include the popular “Lord of the Rings” site, where 12 million Netizens have downloaded the pic’s trailer since April.

AOL, which has a run rate of $1 billion in advertising, has more than 100 advertisers spending in excess of $1 million with the service, which should easily create a revenue stream for New Line online.

Deal specifically makes New Line an anchor tenant on movie listing and online ticketing service AOL Moviefone, enabling Netizens to find showtimes for local theaters and purchase tickets to the studio’s pics.

Last summer, preview screenings of “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” were sold out in 14 major markets after promotion on AOL Moviefone.

Soon after, AOL and New Line created an online auction site to sell memorabilia such as costumes and props from New Line pics.

Those successes and AOL’s combined 24 million members encouraged New Line to spend more of its promotional dollars online — something other studios have been hesitant to do.

Overall deal is valued in the tens of millions of dollars in promotions, both companies said. Last May, New Line acquired an initial 16-month package of multimillion-dollar promotions and advertising across the AOL Movies main screen. New Line promotes its films throughout the AOL Entertainment Channel, AOL chat areas, Entertainment Asylum, AOL.com and Digital City.

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