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Yahoo's Movieland Game for Summer Films

May 14, 2012|Oliver Gettell

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Internet company Yahoo will attempt to stake a claim on the summer movie season Tuesday with the launch of Movieland, an interactive online game promoting some 35 big-budget films.

Developed with participation from all the major movie studios, Movieland is laid out as a virtual board game, with each square representing a different summer film. For each film, users will be able to watch trailers, answer trivia questions, earn and share online badges, purchase tickets, and win prizes.

Ken Fuchs, the vice president and head of sports, entertainment and games at Yahoo Media Network, said in a phone interview that Movieland “gameifies moviegoing in an interesting way.” The company hopes the game will encourage repeat visits as users compete with one another and share their achievements on social networks. “It sucks people into an experience,” Fuchs added.

The game debuts Tuesday morning on Yahoo Movies with trailers and trivia for all the films and tickets available for Warner Bros.’ “Dark Shadows,” Paramount’s “The Dictator,” Lionsgate’s “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” and Universal’s “Battleship” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Ticketing for other movies will be rolled out as they approach their release dates.

Prizes include signed posters and movie props, as well as free movie tickets until the year 2020.

Doug Neil, the senior vice president of digital marketing at Universal, said the studio’s participation in Movieland will complement its existing marketing campaigns and help “generate incremental exposure” to its properties.

“We have seen interactive experiences that have a game structure to them to be more immersive and engaging relative to the exposure to our films,” he said. “[Movieland is] a great way to drive people into a more organic conversation around our film.”

Movieland will spearhead Yahoo’s efforts to promote its Yahoo Movies site, which the company says reaches 26 million users a month, as a destination for summer film coverage. Planned promotions include a large presence at Comic-Con in San Diego in July, where Fuchs said “we’re going to bring Movieland to life,” and live streaming of red-carpet premieres.

In the past year, Yahoo streamed the premieres of blockbusters “The Hunger Games” and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1.”

As Yahoo attempts to return to business as usual in the wake of former CEO Scott Thompson’s resignation on Sunday, the Yahoo Movies push can be seen as part of the company’s broader strategy to transition from being a Web portal and search engine to a producer of premium online content in a bid to lure advertisers and convert traffic into revenue.

“We are a content company as much as we are a technology company,” Fuchs said.

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