U opens cybershop

Studio aims to boost merchandising traffic

Universal Studios New Media Group has placed one of the traditional studios’ highest-traffic zones — its studio store — in cyberspace where everyone from Alabama to Zaire can shop for studio collectibles.

Extending the Warner Bros. Studio Store concept (which brought branded studio gear into a mall near you) into the World Wide Web with the Hollywood Backlot Store seemed a natural, says Universal’s Paul Rioux, president of the New Media Group.

“The Hollywood Backlot Store gives us the opportunity to showcase the rich assets of all our businesses,” he said, mentioning not only Universal Studios gear but also product from the Music Group, from Spencer Gifts and from films and shows produced by the studio.

Please worldwide customers

“We saw an opportunity to offer these goods and more over the Internet to please our customers worldwide,” added New Media Group VP/sales & marketing Lisa Crane.

The New Media Group partnered with Microsoft Corp. and MindCorps, Inc. in constructing the site, accessible at http://store.universalstudios.com. It uses the CyberCash secure server technology for credit card transactions and is a participant in the Novus Universal Studios Card program, whereby dollars spent at the store can count as points toward various rewards, including admission to Universal theme parks, merchandise and even a chance to get a walk-on part in a Universal production.

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