'Reporter' creates site to help Oscar hopefuls

LOS ANGELES: The onset of Hollywood awards season is traditionally signaled by a flood of ads in newspapers and magazines through full-page spectacles meant to sway the decisions of Oscar voters and those who influence them.

LOS ANGELES: The onset of Hollywood awards season is traditionally signaled by a flood of ads in newspapers and magazines through full-page spectacles meant to sway the decisions of Oscar voters and those who influence them.

But with new media creating more flexible and dynamic possibilities, The Hollywood Reporter has used its brand positioning to create its For Your Consideration Studio Showcase Web site, an online portal designed to provide information about Oscar-contending studios and films.

The portal gives film studios an opportunity beyond traditional ads to spur more dialogue with those important 6,000 members of the Academy who vote. It also allows the studios to reach out to non-voting influencers.

Still in its initial phase, the Showcase includes links to movie trailers and credits; screenplay and soundtrack downloads; and a screening-invitation RSVP functionality. Another feature, Tale of the Trophy, keeps a running tally of each film's Oscar nominations for the year.

The second phase, after the nominations are announced, is likely to include more screening information and details about those nominated films.

Portal participation, according to the Reporter, is in the mid five-figures. The portal launched with studio sponsors including Universal, Paramount Pictures, and Fox Searchlight. Michael Laur, VP and group advertising director at the Reporter, said he expects several more to join as the season progresses.

"It's a one-stop shop, if you will," said Laur. Instead of taking the user to each film studio's Web site, "we brought the Web site to the reader."

While the Web site does not feature Hollywood Reporter content, there are quick links to the magazine's coverage of Academy Awards season.

"This is a great platform for [the studios'] target audience: the voters and those who influence [them]," Laur said.

PR efforts on behalf of the Studio Showcase include outreach to film and entertainment-industry pros, as well as marketing and PR executives, explained Lynda Miller, head of publicity for the Reporter.

A campaign crafted with the assistance of the magazine's PR agencies, The Rosen Group in New York and mPRm Public Relations in Los Angeles, also includes media outreach and small events, among other components.

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