Time Warner's Entertaindom snags big-name marketers

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More than a dozen marketers, including Procter & Gamble Co., J.C. Penney Co., eBay and Volkswagen of America, have entered Entertaindom, the Time Warner Web site that will broadcast original streaming content.

The rich-media site, officially open November 29, features entertainment news and information; entertainment services--such as locations where movies are playing--and entertainment programming, including cartoons and some live films.

The site uses technology from a company called BroadVision, said Jim Moloshok, president of Warner Bros. Online. "It has passive and active personalization. It allow us, as people come in, to watch their habits."

Mr. Moloshok said a digital cookie will be used to track users' activity on the site; the site then will create customized content reflecting users' preferences.

"We can `custom publishing' their home page," he said. "So if they like music and movies, that will be emphasized on the home page."

The same personalization software will enable advertisers to target ads, whether it's an ad for a compact disc from charter marketer CDnow or an ad for stereo equipment.

Entertaindom said one of its sellings points is its ability to integrate marketers' messages side by side with the content.

For example, one 10 channels on the site will play the animated series "Superman."

"You'll be able to buy `Superman' merchandise," said Mr. Moloshok, adding that you can also bid on "Superman" memorabilia through partner merchant eBay.

The "Superman" series is in 3-dimensional streaming video so users have to download a 3-D player that uses a technology from software company Brilliant Digital. Ad banners play during the episodes.

Furthermore, product placement is available in the episodes.

"In one episode there are characters walking down the street," Mr. Moloshok said. "They stop by a soda-machine and get a drink."

Mr. Moloshok said he could not at this time name the soft-drink company that purchased the product placement.

Entertaindom also will make use of Flash interstitials, animated ads that often are full-screen.

"When someone clicks on entertainment news, for example, an advertiser gets a seven-second Flash interstitial going into that content area," said Rich Sutton, VP-client sales and advertising for Warner Bros. Online.

This "intermercial" format will also be used in the animated talk show "God & Devil."

"It's our version of `Regis & Kathie Lee,'|" Mr. Moloshok said. "God and Devil are host and hostess. It's parody--most of the guests they interview are already dead. Users watch about three minutes, there is a commercial break, and then there's another two minutes or so. Then the user gets to decide if the guest should go to heaven or hell. "

Movietown, a home video retailer, is a sponsor. Other charter marketers on Entertaindom include Doughnet, an online currency site for teens; online community Etown; Intel Corp.; Microsoft Corp.; entertainment e-commerce site Kabang; and Web TV Networks.

Entertaindom's launch is backed by a seven-digit online ad budget, Mr. Moloshok said. Also, there will be an ad every week for a year in Entertainment Weekly, a publication of sibling Time Inc., as well as ads in People and TV spots on the various TV networks Time Warner owns.

Mr. Moloshok declined to name the agencies handling the launch, saying only that the company was working with a number of different shops.

Copyright November 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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