Moviefone Promo Drives Fans to 'Mists of Avalon' Screening

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Turner Network Television's promotion with AOL Moviefone for its "Mists of Avalon" miniseries, which started yesterday and runs through tonight, "significantly exceeded" TNT executives' expectations.


Tom Carr, vice president, entertainment marketing for TNT, said the network was unsure what type of response the early July Moviefone campaign would receive, since TNT had not previously promoted a miniseries on Moviefone.com.


TNT's objective was to attract fans of the Camelot legend and the "Mists of Avalon" miniseries to an advance screening in New York City on July 9.


Moviefone.com offered downloadable passes to the screening via locally targeted banner ads on its site (users who entered a New York ZIP code were served the ads). The offer was also posted on America Online, CompuServe, Digital City, TNT.tv and on Moviefone's New York phone number.


Those who viewed the promotion -- 800,000 on Moviefone.com and thousands more through www.AOL.com and other sites -- were directed to a splash page promoting the screening at www.moviefone.com/mistsofavalon.


Nineteen thousand people hit the splash page, and 2,500 downloaded passes to the event at Ziegfeld Theatre, which seats 1,100.


"We became a sold-out venue a day before the screening," Carr said. "The full-theater capacity was a huge success, in our minds."


"This was an amazing response, since we were using exclusively online advertising to drive traffic to a TV miniseries," said Christine Winston, director of marketing for AOL Moviefone, which previously had marketed only films.


Carr knew that movie fans who use Moviefone.com would be a good target because two stars of the miniseries, Angelica Huston and Joan Allen, are primarily film actresses.


Though TNT's primary audience is both men and women ages 25 to 54, TNT executives kept in mind that the "Mists of Avalon" novel has a huge female following.


"We decided to first go after the lowest-hanging fruit on the tree and go after fans of the novel," Carr said.


To that end, TNT partnered with Bookmagazine.com to promote the miniseries and has in-store displays in Barnes & Noble stores. B&N is selling the novel and the soundtrack from the miniseries. Offline, TNT advertised in magazines such as InStyle and People, which have a higher female than male readership.


Traffic to TNT.tv's Mists of Avalon page has also been "phenomenal," Carr said. Since early June, the site has garnered more than 600,000 page views, one of the highest ranking of any TNT miniseries' sites. Carr attributes the high response partly to TNT's AOL partnership, which was more extensive for this miniseries than others.


This week, AOL and TNT are sponsoring a "Discover the Goddess Within" sweepstakes on AOL. After users answer multiple-choice questions about their own character to "find their inner goddess," and enter their name, they receive a "Goddess name." They can then enter to win "the Goddess treatment" at a luxury spa in their hometown.


Other sweepstakes on TNT's Mists of Avalon page include prizes of a one-week stay at a castle in Scotland and props from the miniseries.


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