Disney Plans Worldwide “Roadblock” for Movie Trailer

Disney-owned Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group is planning a multichannel, worldwide “roadblock” simulcast of a new movie trailer on the Web, TV, and mobile phones.

The theatrical trailer for the upcoming “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” will be broadcast on May 7 on ABC TV, Disney Channel, and four channels across the Starz Entertainment Group network. America Online will handle the Webcast, and Verizon Wireless gets the mobile phone duties via its VCAST wireless multimedia service.

Within a 48-hour period surrounding the U.S. launch, the international roadblock will take place in 32 countries. There are similar plans in each country to simulcast the trailer on TV and online outlets. The Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media film, based on the novels of C.S. Lewis, opens in theaters in December.

Disney also took the roadblock approach with its 2003 launch of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” but on a smaller scale, said Dennis Rice, SVP of publicity at Buena Vista Pictures Marketing.

“We did a roadblock across all of the Disney television properties, and it worked out great. With a movie with as much worldwide interest as ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,’ we wanted to do one better by launching it around the world on broadcast, online, and mobile phones,” Rice said.

Disney has long embraced the Web as a marketing channel. It launched the Go.com portal in 1996, which had a rocky start, and later changed its name to The Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG). WDIG was an early entrant to the mobile content market in 1999, when it launched text-based content services in the U.S. under the ABC News and ESPN brands, and later expanded into Japan and 25 other countries.

In October 2004, WDIG created Starwave Mobile, a licensing and publishing business focusing on non-Disney branded mobile games and entertainment. In March, Disney Pictures Marketing created online video ads with specially produced footage to promote the action film, “The Pacifier.”

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