IAR Bits and Bytes

Spider Man Spins a Crafty Promotional Web

Among the many movie studios and fan sites harnessing the power of the Internet to promote movie releases, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment (SPDE) stepped up to the plate this week with an exclusive streaming trailer for the upcoming release of Sony Pictures Entertainment “Spider Man.”

SPDE is the digital production arm of Sony Pictures Entertainment and its Tokyo-based parent, Sony Corp. . SPDE has gone full tilt to promote the film’s May release through a specially designated Web site and a barrage of promotional content aimed at satisfying even the most avid Spider Man fans.

The site features interviews with the film’s stars, behind-the-scenes information, streaming video of highlights from an all-cast press conference, a sweepstakes for a shot at attending the film’s Hollywood premiere, and an option for registering as an official member of the Spider Man network for even more exclusive content.

Spider Man fans can also view snippets of the film in a shorter “teaser” form, or a 30-second television preview.

But SPDE’s main selling point is the exclusive online debut of the film’s most recent full-length trailer, which is only available to online Spider Man fans, and which will be the last trailer released before the movie opens.

“By placing this trailer exclusively online, we are giving fans everywhere an opportunity to get caught in Spider Man’s world wide web,” said Geoffrey Ammer, president of marketing for Columbia TriStar Marketing Group. “This Internet exclusive is also our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the online community that has so enthusiastically followed and supported the development and production of ‘Spider Man’ over the past several years.”

Slated for a May release, “Spider Man” is directed by Sam Rami and adapted for screen by David Koepp, scribe of “Jurassic Park” and “Stir of Echoes.”

Switchboard Launches Upgrades

Online yellow pages player Switchboard.com is rolling out upgrades to its listings, designed to benefit both advertisers and affiliates.

The Westboro, Mass.-based company’s new Switchboard Matrix platform offers new database features, allowing for merchants to be sorted by attributes like products and services, hours, and specialties — in addition to the original, broader category and location-based searches.

Meanwhile, new advertising products rolled out with Switchboard Matrix include redesigned directory ads that more closely match print directory ads, coupons and category sponsorships.

For Web publishers that syndicate Switchboard’s listings, the Matrix upgrade offers more flexibility in merging Switchboard data into site content.

The service is expected to be fully rolled out in April.

“Premier directory technology will be a major factor in accelerating the online migration of the $14 billion per year yellow pages industry,” said Switchboard Chief Executive Doug Greenlaw. “We continue to expand our leadership position in a business segment that is growing in importance to companies looking to compete in this compelling market.”

L90, eUniverse Formalize Divorce

Troubled online ad network L90 said it has formally terminated its merger agreement with eUniverse , and that its chief financial officer, Tom Sebastian, had formally resigned, “in an unrelated matter.”

The news comes a week after the firms announced their intention to scrap the merger, and that Sebastian had been placed on administrative leave. At the time, L90’s founder and chief executive, John Bohan, also resigned. Co-founder Mark Roah, a board of directors member, also resigned earlier in the month, citing personal reasons.

In Bohan’s place, L90’s board of directors said it has appointed Mitchell Cannold, formerly chief operating officer at Space.com, to immediately take over Bohan’s posts and his seat on the board.

The formal termination of the merger serves as a footnote to the controversy brewing around L90’s finances. In January, eUniverse agreed to buy L90 in a complex and unusual transaction that would actually have the purchased firm funding much of its own $50 million buyout.

But the arrangement came under scrutiny by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which a month later subpoenaed L90’s past accounting records and at least one member of the company’s board of directors. In part, the investigation centered around the abrupt resignation of L90 Vice President of Finance Lucrezia Bickerton, shortly after the merger agreement was announced.

L90 didn’t disclose whether it would have to pay a breakup fee, though such fees are commonplace in merger agreements.

L90 also said following the original announcement of the merger’s planned termination that it would continue to consider funding options in the future, including a sale of certain, unspecified assets to eUniverse.

Related reading

activist
facebook-organic-reach
YouTube-logo-full_color
prime
<