Online Movie Site Picks McCann

A new online movie service owned by five major film studios has tapped Interpublic Group’s McCann-Erickson to handle its ad account.

Movielink launched Nov. 11. It hired the Los Angeles agency after a review. The client issued RFPs to roughly six shops in July before narrowing to McCann and one undisclosed New York shop, said Movielink vp of marketing Mariam Naficy.

Officials at the client and the agency declined to disclose billings. Sources estimated the account to be worth $5-10 million.

Work will include brand strategy and online and traditional advertising, as well as media buying and planning through Universal McCann.

“McCann combined the best of everything,” said Naficy. “They were very strategic in their approach to developing brand identity, and they also had the online media expertise.”

The client, based in Santa Monica, Calif., is targeting U.S. high-speed Internet users, since broadband is required to download the films. It is also eyeing entertainment enthusiasts, business travelers and early technology adopters.

Online ads running now on entertainment sites are aimed at educating consumers about Movielink and stress that the films are downloadable, said Naficy.

“It’s entertainment, it’s online, it’s a new way of getting movies,” said McCann general manager Ian McGregor. “This is a way the Internet will start to provide value.”

Offline ads are expected once Movielink’s 90-day testing period is complete. The client is considering all media forms except TV, said Naficy.

Movielink is owned by MGM Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Studios. It offers more than 200 films on its site, said Naficy. Prices range from $1.99 to $4.99 each and are set by the individual studios.