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Sony Enters the SPIN Zone

By Gretchen Hyman     Feedback

The famed movie studio drives up online promotional and marketing stakes just in time for summer's new releases.

Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment has officially entered the SPIN zone with the formation of a new web hosting division for all online promotional and marketing content for Sony Pictures' movie, television, and home entertainment properties.

The newly branded Sony Pictures Integrated Network (SPIN) is spearheaded by Senior Vice President Ira Rubenstein, former project manager for movies-on-demand unit MovieLink, and will function under the wing of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment (SPDE).

Culver City, Calif.-based SPDE oversees digital production for Sony Pictures' online destinations, including SoapCity, Sony Online Entertainment, Screenblast, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

SPIN will build and maintain Web sites for Sony's film and television group and will develop previously outsourced promotional content for SonyPictures.com to maximize all aspects of its online marketing potential by exposing users to the wide array of Sony brands. SPIN will use brand integration gimmicks like auctions, community building, network games, and partnership marketing as tools to drive traffic to any number of Sony destinations.

"In essence what we're trying to do is give exposure to all our projects through existing projects," said Rubenstein. "We're looking to take online promotional marketing to a new level and build a customer relationship management (CRM) system to take advantage of the enormous traffic we get from our different brands, including movie and television properties. Each of our shows generate a huge number of interested users and we're looking to help direct these people to our other sites and brands."

SPIN is already fast at work putting together the back end CRM to the SonyPictures.com homepage and hunkering down for a busy summer of online marketing blitzes surrounding new releases "Men In Black II," "Stuart Little II," "Mr. Deeds," and "Spiderman."

"We're in a unique position as a studio," said Rubenstein. "We have a highly successful electronics division and by having one centralized area, we can leverage one common infrastructure. We really have to take advantage of everything we have in order to compete in todays online marketing environment."

SPIN will also pursue the syndication of trailers and behind-the-scenes content for more generalized exposure to Sony brands. According to Rubenstein, Sony found content syndication for its recent release of "Ali," based on the life of Muhammad Ali, to be a highly successful marketing campaign.

"More and more people are interested in broadband content and syndicating content and trailers across the Internet can be a very effective form of advertising. With SPIN, you will be seeing SonyPictures.com being more uniformly cross-promoted through our film and television projects."

This article was originally published on February 11, 2002
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