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(June 1, 2001) -- BMW of North America's Internet site that is showing original short films involving its vehicles is enjoying significantly increased visits.

Nielsen Media Research and its NetRatings unit reported 214,000 unique visitors to for the week ending May 27. Nielsen also said 68% of visitors were male, 33% were between the ages of 35 and 49, and visitors spent an average of six minutes on the site.

BMW tapped five prominent movie directors to each create an original, five-minute film. The movies started in late April and continue into late July. Jim McDowell, vice president of marketing at the carmaker, said BMW may extend the program into August.

Mr. McDowell said the online project "is an interesting bridge for us" leading to the fall launch of new versions of existing models via traditional advertising and the current use of mainly local media as the 2001 model-year winds down. -- Jean Halliday

Copyright June 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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