Excite@Home's 'Blind Date' Yields Marketing Partnership

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A cross-promotional deal between Excite@Home and Universal WorldWide Television is letting Internet voters decide which people on the television show "Blind Date" actually go on a date.

Viewers of the syndicated dating show, which sets up two strangers and then follows them on their first date, were pushed to www.blinddatetv.com, a co-branded site, at the conclusion of each episode to vote on who they wanted to see go on a date. Viewers could choose from a selection of "Blind Date" wannabes and match their favorites.

The public will learn the results of the polls tonight during a special "Blind Date" episode titled "You Make the Match."

The interactive element will become a staple of the site. Every two weeks viewers will be able to choose who they want to go on a "Blind Date." New episodes based on the polls will air in September.

The agreement not only drives visitors to use Excite's services, it also hits the company's key demographic -- 18-34 year olds.

"This is an audience that is pre-qualified to be interested in dating and relationships," said Kathleen Waters, senior director of marketing at Excite@Home. "They are more interested in broadband content like Webcast episodes and interactive features like voting for the couples."

The original agreement between Excite and Universal WorldWide Television was reached in February, just in time for Valentine's Day. Since the re-launch, the site has averaged 15,000 unique visitors a day.

"Excite had a 'personals' area and the deal began simply as a way to cross promote between media," Waters said. "The concept was hatched as a co-brand of the 'personals' area and has developed into more features for content, and information from the show with the addition of broadband content. This site is evolving from a media swap to being a continual cycle of content and interaction between the show and the site."

The first installment of the marketing scheme had the companies cross promoting strictly through chats -- this second installment adds viewer interaction and Webcasts as well as special off-line events with Blind Date host Roger Lodge that are brought live to the Internet through Webcasting and chats. Excite will have a distinct marketing presence at these events by handing out information and promotional items.

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