Warner Bros. Looks to Net for PPV Promos


Warner Bros. is considering more Internet-based promotions for its pay-per-view movies after a number of recent efforts generated strong responses.

The studio is contemplating an online promotion for its August PPV release of , another family-oriented film. The promotion would most likely feature an online contest for viewers, as well as a sponsor to provide a prize for contest winners, but details had yet to be worked out at press time. generated around $35 million at the box office.

"The Internet promotion would be a perfect fit for the movie," Warner Bros. Pay TV, Cable and Network Features vice president of advertising, publicity and promotion Bill Short said. "We've found that a formula combining a great tie-in partner willing to give a prize that people want, plus an interactive Internet promotion that attracts kids, can create a value-added campaign that promotes PPV."

If developed, the promotion could only hope to be as successful as two prior efforts based on the studio's PPV movies.

A May Warner Bros. online giveaway promotion for on PPV drew a phenomenal amount of hits to the Web site-so much so that studio executives said the promotion had to be discontinued within a week after the studio hit its premium-item limit.

The online campaign on the studio's PPV Web site () provided users with a free bag of Newman's Own Inc. popcorn if they correctly paired the movie's characters with their respective powers, Short said. Already a box-office hit-the movie generated $85 million-Warner Bros. hoped the interactive promotion would draw more kids and families to the PPV showings.

But the studio was not prepared for a deluge of users to the site within days of the campaign's launch, Short said. The studio and Newman's Own had reached an agreement to provide a maximum of 2,000 popcorn bags. Within a week, the promotion had generated more than 18,000 entries and nearly 4,000 winners, although it was unclear how many entries actually translated into PPV buys.

"We had to end the promotion within the week because we had already doubled what we said we would do," Short said. "It was a great interactive game that was popular with kids and, as a result, we had a phenomenal response for the promotion."

The successful promotion came on the heels of a similar studio arrangement with Newman's Own for Warner Bros. 'The in February. That Internet promotion, which featured a trivia contest, generated more than 1,100 orders for Newman's Own popcorn.