Hollywood on the Line
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/12/2004 8:00:00 PM
Enjoying happy hour or exercising at the gym is no reason to miss celebrity news. For the latest on Hollywood heavyweights, grab your cellphone. Your T-Mobile cellphone. Paramount's The Insider favors the T-Mobile, repped in ads by Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Early on, Paramount decided to hook up The Insider with an interactive component, much as Fox's American Idol intimately connects with fans via phone-in and text-messaged voting. Entertainment Tonight also delivers branded content to the entertainment-obsessed via push client Instant ET, as well as ET Online on Yahoo!
After shopping the idea to several cellphone companies, Paramount Domestic Television President John Nogawski tapped T-Mobile: "They immediately got what we wanted to do."
Says Mike Belcher, T-Mobile director of sponsorships and promotions, "This property was enticing to us based on the success of ET. It goes 52 weeks a year, and it's rare to associate yourself with something that runs year-round."
The most important component of the deal is a daily T-Mobile–sponsored Instapoll. An entertainment-related question will be posed on The Insider: for example, "Who should win the Emmy for best female performer in a comedy?" Results will show up during the next day's show.
The poll does double duty: It makes Insider viewers feel more tied in to the show, and it gives Paramount access to demographic information about who is watching. Viewers who text-message their poll responses will be automatically entered into a sweepstakes to win one of five trips to Hollywood to visit Paramount and a live taping on the Insider set.
Celebrity-news diehards can even subscribe to an add-on Insider package for an extra $2.99 a month. Subscribers will get exclusive content and breaking news delivered to their wireless devices 24/7.
"This is a great selling tool for our retail sales force," Belcher says. "It demonstrates how you can get more from T-Mobile by staying connected to the show and getting the latest news in the entertainment world."
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