Artisan crafts Yahoo deal

Indie distrib to use portal's across-the-board marketing offerings

HOLLYWOOD — Artisan Entertainment has inked a deal with Yahoo! to use the Internet portal giant’s Web sites to promote its spring college comedy “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.” Deal is expected to eventually expand to include much of Artisan’s feature and homevid releases in the future.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the pact is significant considering it helps quantify the success of Yahoo!’s aggressive efforts over the past year to recruit Hollywood’s major studios and indie distribbers to use its popular network of sites to promote their pics and homevid releases online. Yahoo! boasts more than 219 million unique users per month, giving studios a large concentrated group to market its pics to.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo! recently moved its movies, television and music divisions to Santa Monica, in order to have its staffers work more closely with Hollywood’s decision makers.

Only DreamWorks still remains out of Yahoo!’s grasp. The studio has opted to rely on e-tailer Amazon.com and fan site CountingDown.com, instead.

“At the start of last year, only one of the studios was promoting their films on Yahoo!,” said David Mandelbrot, veep and general manager of Yahoo! Entertainment. “But we’ve been able to show studios how we can do more creative things that they can’t do on other sites. We also offer studios the ability to target their promotions specifically to the demo they’re interested in. We know who our users are. We know how old they are. We know what they’re interested in and what they do.”

Artisan has worked with Yahoo! before — namely by offering auctions and buying online ads — but the “Van Wilder” deal is the first time the indie distrib has agreed to use Yahoo!’s across-the-board marketing offerings to push a pic.

A major factor in the deal is the young Web-savvy demo that “Van Wilder” — which stars Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid — is expected to attract.

Artisan is hoping to target its online “Van Wilder” promos to 18-24-year-olds, with Web sites plastered with banner ads and the Yahoo! Movies channels broadcasting the pic’s trailer and other behind-the-scenes vidclips and interviews. A sweepstakes and offline tie-ins are also planned.

“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, executive vice president of worldwide marketing, Artisan Pictures.

While the Artisan deal currently only calls for Yahoo! to promote one pic, the pact is expected to expand to involve Artisan’s future slate of pics, as well.

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