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New Line taps into ‘Powers’ of the ‘Net

Game, pay-per-view release to coincide

Trying to tap into the growing market of Internet users who watch TV at the same time, New Line plans to launch an online game for “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” that coincides with the pic’s pay-per-view release in January.

New Line has teamed with HyperTV Networks, a subsid of personal TV technology firm ACTV Inc., to offer the game on the official “Powers” Web site, enabling viewers who buy the pic on PPV to answer questions and chat on the ‘Net as they watch the $205 million-grossing pic on TV.

The studio, which traditionally does not go to great lengths to promote a PPV title, hopes the Web venture will help sell 300,000 subscriptions of the click.

Why not?

“We normally wouldn’t do this for a $200 million movie,” said David Spiegelman, executive veep domestic television distribution, New Line Cinema. “It may not work but when this opportunity came along, we thought, why not give it a shot? ‘Austin Powers’ translates well to the Web.”

New Line TV will push the Jan. 1 bow of the pic and game through an extensive multi-million dollar marketing campaign. Pic will be broadcast on PPV through Feb. 29.

New Line TV said it expects to offer other simultaneous online events for its broadcast events, including a possible February sweeps promotion for syndie action hour “Arthur Conan Doyle’s the Lost World.”

A recent study by research outfit Paul Kagan Associates and Showtime Networks estimates that nearly 20 million U.S. households view television and access the Internet at the same time.

The studio is using its “Powers” Web site similar to how Columbia TriStar Interactive manages its film sites — by focusing on specific release patterns as the pic moves through them.

Currently, the site is promoting the “Powers” homevid release. Come January, it will feature the pay-per-view release.

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