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Yahoo! Verticals Ink Two Promo Deals

Two major offline advertisers plan to unveil new campaigns across Yahoo!, with the Web portal's Movies and Travel sites playing the starring role.

Fox Entertainment will use the Web to promote and conduct market research for its domestic films and home entertainment unit. The deal will have the Web portal promoting two upcoming releases from Fox's Twentieth Century Fox film unit: the animated comedy "Ice Age" and the sci-fi thriller "Minority Report." It will also advertise Fox home video and DVD releases "Don't Say a Word," "Shallow Hal" and "Behind Enemy Lines."

Meanwhile, the portal also signed an agreement with British Airways to promote a travel sweepstakes and ticket discounts. The contest, which begins Wednesday and continues through March 16, offers travelers a chance at one of twenty dream vacations for two in London and New York City, with travel provided via the Concorde.

The promotion aims to drive traffic to britishairways.yahoo.com, where entrants can enter the contest. Yahoo! also said it would offer and promote special transatlantic ticket sales through March 15 for trips between April 1 and June 15, which are being sold through britishairways.yahoo.com.

Both promotions rely on ads running across all of Yahoo!, as well as integrated into content on Yahoo! Travel and Yahoo! Movies as well. Yahoo! is running an ad on its front page for British Airways. In addition to ads, the Fox promotion includes trailers and exclusive clips on the movies.yahoo.com site.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

However, the Fox deal represents its largest advertising commitment to a single Web publisher to date. That fact, spokespeople said, reflects studios' recognition of the increasing role that the Internet plays in consumers' search for entertainment information.

"We're excited about our relationship because we've been able to develop a number of innovative and unique marketing programs that will convey our messages in ways previously not available to advertisers," said Alan Cohen, president of marketing at Twentieth Century Fox.

In addition to the advertising component, Twentieth Century Fox plans to use the campaigns to gauge the effectiveness of online marketing, with an eye to tracking consumer interest and optimizing its promotions.

"We'll be providing them with research, data, and some creative work as well," said David Mandelbrot, vice president and general manager of Yahoo! Entertainment. "Given our huge audience base and huge database of information that we get about our users and their activities on Yahoo!, we're able to provide Fox with information on which of their promotions are working on Yahoo! and resonating with our audience, [and] which type of audience and demographic their promotions are working with. We can help them, in real-time, to tailor their promotions to reach whatever demographic they're trying to reach for their films."

The agreement continues Yahoo!'s efforts to encourage both major film studios and travel companies to use its portal as a marketing platform. Currently, the site is running promotions for five major film studios, and has hosted marketing efforts for air carriers including American Airlines.

"Yahoo continues to develop innovative ways to work with travel suppliers to utilize our powerful and effective network in order to sell online travel services to consumers," said Kamie Cicinelli, general manager at Yahoo! Travel. "We are pleased to be working with British Airways to deliver great travel deals to the largest purchasing audience on the Web."

Added Mandelbrot, "A year ago we started making a concerted effort to make sure we were the top online promotional partner for studios, and in the last year we were really were effective in showing studios the benefits of aggressively promoting films and entertainment on Yahoo! ... [when] five of the top 10 grossing box offices were promoted on Yahoo!."

"This relationship that we just struck with Fox proves that the studios are recognizing the real value that we can bring to them in promoting their films," he said.