The web as a medium for promoting film had yet to prove its worth in Hollywood in 2002 at the time of the sites redesign. By making the presentation layer of Yahoo! Movies more familiar to often-conservative, middle-aged studio executives, Yahoo! was able to capture a major investment from the movie industry.
Challenge: Yahoo! movies was a popular site with users on a Thursday evening when people were looking for a film to see on the weekend. It did rather less well during the week. In the eyes of potential advertisers in Hollywood, it did little to entice them to spend advertising dollars. The challenge was two fold, create a site to attract advertisers and keep users coming back every day of the week to the website.
Response: For the site to be appealing to the movie crowd, it had to offer movie sponsorship opportunities and integrate broadband content, editorial reviews and, most important, the promise to sell movie tickets over the web.
Getting the right balance between content aggregation, movie promotion, ads, and editorial content was a new design challenge. By offering fewer larger ad positions at the top of the page, producers were excited to invest. By rotating the content on the home page according to the ebb and flow of the movie industries production and promotion cycle we were able to attract users back on a daily basis.
For example, traffic to the site peaked on Friday, when users wanted to find a movie and show times. Promotions of weekend releases drove users to the theaters for opening day. Monday’s home page featured the box office highs and lows over the weekend. Understanding the movie studios’ timing, established Yahoo! Movies as a part of the entertainment industry.
Results: Yahoo! Movies became the #1 entertainment site on the web following the launch of the redesign. Within a year of the launch, unique monthly visitors increased by 34%.
The Movies team relocated to Santa Monica and quickly became enmeshed in the glamor of Hollywood. The movie industry took this commitment seriously, and their influence on the team’s thinking benefited both industries.
Role: Design Manager.