Seeking to bolster its position in the online video sales market, e-commerce giant Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) is featuring footage not used in either the box office or home video version of The Blair Witch Project, a low budget production that has improbably become the most profitable film ever produced.
The “newly discovered” footage is the first live video stream presented by Amazon, and is a noteworthy marriage of Hollywood and e-commerce. Much of the film’s massive pre-release hype and notoriety was delivered via the Internet.
The Power of Online Promotion
“The success of The Blair Witch Project opened the industry’s eyes to the impact the Internet can have on Hollywood,” commented Jason Kilar, group product manager for Amazon.com’s video store section. “It is only fitting that a film that gained much of its massive popularity through the Web is now offering this exclusive footage via the Internet at Amazon.com.”
The e-commerce powerhouse has secured an exclusive arrangement with Artisan Home Entertainment, the company that holds the rights to the motion picture and all product offerings.
Amazon has also set up a Blair Witch page, where e-commerce patrons can check out the RealPlayer clip and pre-order copies of the video version of the film. Also available on the page is a documentary that has been produced about the surprise hit. Blair Witch memorabilia and related items are up for bids in the online auction area.
“We are excited to work with Amazon.com to bring this exclusive online footage to Blair Witch fans through the power of the Internet,” said Artisan president Steve Beeks. Amazon’s Blair Witch page — which also features t-shirts, books, mugs, copies of the soundtrack and free e-mail cards — will be available through the end of the year. Surfers who don’t have RealPlayer can download the software through Amazon.
It’s All Greek To Amazon Greece
Amazon.com has used the power of the courts to beat back the efforts of a Greek online book retailer who had been squatting on its name. The online firm, formerly known as Amazon Greece, voluntarily changed its name, becoming Greekbooksonline.com. Still, according to a CNET news report, the Greek e-commerce operation still owns domain names Amazon.com.gr and Amazon.gr, and Amazon.com has not dropped its suit.
An Amazon.com spokesperson said that the suit filed against CITI Services Ltd. — the owner of the disputed online site — was a message to copycats and cybersquatters.
Amazon.com, established in 1995, offers more than 4.7 million books, music CDs, videos, DVDs and computer games. It has recently made auctions, toys, electronics and free electronic greeting cards available to online consumers.