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BermanBraun seeks to reinvigorate AOL's Moviefone

October 24, 2013|By Dawn C. Chmielewski
  • Mr. Moviefone, Russ Leatherman, photographed in a voice over studio.
Mr. Moviefone, Russ Leatherman, photographed in a voice over studio. (Jack Gould / Jack Gould )

The veteran entertainment executives at BermanBraun will seek to invigorate AOL's venerable Moviefone, a two-decade-old ticket-buying service that also provides film reviews and information about show times.

BermanBraun will work with AOL to relaunch the movie guide in early 2014, with a broader scope and additional features.

"The name itself indicates what has to happen with this brand," said Gail Berman, founding partner of the BermanBraun media company. "What's fantastic is that technology has caught up with the name in a whole different way."

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Moviefone launched in 1989, initially providing information over the telephone about movie times in New York and Los Angeles. As it gained popularity, the phone service went nationwide and launched online. AOL acquired the service in 1999 for $400 million. 

Last year, Moviefone struck a deal with rival ticketing service Fandango that allowed its customers to buy tickets across an expanded network of movie theaters nationwide.

Berman, former president of entertainment for Fox Broadcasting, said that she and her business partner, former head of Yahoo Media Group and ABC Entertainment Television Group chairman Lloyd Braun, have deep relationships in the entertainment industry that they hope will allow them to enhance Moviefone's offerings.

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"The site itself will become a utility for all areas of entertainment," Berman said. "It will not only embody information about film and ticket buying, it will also be inclusive of television and other entertainment opportunities for the audience."

The BermanBraun studio also has expertise in digital media, creating sites such as the men's online destination It's Mandatory for AOL, and the celebrity news site Wonderwall for Microsoft among its projects. It has signed a multi-year deal to develop new content with MGM, including television and theatrical projects.


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