As America Online’s AOL Studios division launches Entertainment Asylum today, both that property and E! Online will be battling for entertainment-loving online users, distribution deals and ad dollars, particularly from Hollywood.
The much-anticipated Entertainment Asylum, which promises visitors interaction with Hollywood stars among other features, launches today with Columbia House and the Columbia TriStar film Starship Troopers as its advertisers.
However, competitor E! Online told IQ News last week that it had signed a deal with Universal Studios to promote the opening of The Jackal. E! Online has also signed deals with PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Disney and Sony.
Monica Dodi, chief executive officer of Entertainment Asylum, said the venue hopes to attract other movie advertisers with deals similar to the one for Starship Troopers, in which the movie will be promoted with a combination of banners, interstitial ads and buttons weaved into appropriate content areas.
Both sites are also beefing up their distribution throughout the online world. Entertainment Asylum launches on AOL and the Web, with links on Excite, Microsoft’s Active Desktop, Netscape’s Netcaster, Snap! and Yahoo. “Our goal is to have 100 percent Web distribution,” Dodi said.
E! Online is distributed on the PointCast College Network, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, WebTV, NetChannel and the Home Network, which offers high-speed Internet access.
E! Online president Jeremy Verba stressed the importance of deals such as the partnership with Home so that E! Online is well-placed for broadband Internet access. “The next wave of Internet users will come through on all devices,” Verba said. “The next generation is coming though the TV, PC and Mac platforms.” However, as a sign of how competitive the category is, AOL Studios developed Entertainment Asylum to suit a variety of modem speeds.
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