"What we're really doing is trying to create an entertainment destination for our audience," said John Hegeman, chief operating officer of Fox Atomic. By enticing teens and young adults with "fun things to do," the studio seeks to build a closer relationship with its users, which in turn will help create an eager audience for its films.
Hegeman, who developed the groundbreaking Internet marketing campaign for "The Blair Witch Project" in 1999, recalled how the 25 million weekly visitors to the movie's site dwindled away over the course of a year. "That we built up to that level and it just went away is something that always bothered me," he said.
Since then, marketing movies on the Internet has become a standard part of Hollywood promotional campaigns. Lately, big studios have capitalized on the popularity of social networking sites to reach young moviegoers. Walt Disney Co., for example, recently launched a campaign on YouTube.com for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," marking the first time a national marketer has advertised on the video-sharing site.
To tap into the appeal of social-networking sites, foxatomic.com partnered with Jumpcut.com to develop a feature called The Blender that will allow users to make and edit their own video shorts. The site will also carry material from Stupidvideos.com and clips from Fox TV shows. Hegeman said that he also expects the site will develop cross-promotional initiatives with other News Corp.-owned sites that draw young users such as MySpace.com and IGN. In addition to any cross-promotional content deals foxatomic.com strikes, the site will also be ad-supported. Foxatomic.com is looking to build an audience of 500,000 unique visitors over the summer, to grow ultimately to about 2 million, said Hegeman.
Fox Atomic, formed late last year, will debut its first theatrical release "Turistas," a horror flick set in a remote Brazilian beach town, in December. That will be followed by in 2007 by a slate of films including a pair of horror sequels: "The Hills Have Eyes 2," and "28 Days Later."