May 07, 2001

Internet Sites Build Early Hype for Movies
Staff Reporter

Audience burnout is a concern for Gordon Paddison of New Line Cinema, the studio behind one of the most talked-about movies of the year, Lord of the Rings.

Based on the J.R.R. Tolkien classic, the movie won't debut until Christmas. But, realizing that there was intense interest among LOTR fans, New Line began its online promotions in May -- of 1999.

Paddison said the studio has fed the voracious appetites of millions of dedicated LOTR followers by updating the site four times a week with new pictures, trailers and other exclusive material. Some fans even have Paddison's home and cell phone numbers and, of course, his e-mail address.

New Line's can't-beat-'em, join-'em online strategy for Lord of the Rings seems to be working: The official site has been getting about 357 million hits a month, Paddison said.

"We had a site up even before we started production," he said. "We're not blasting our promotions on TV; I think that would lead to audience burnout. What we're doing is slowly peeling back the onion one layer at a time."

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