Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 7th 2015 Contents CONTINUES FROM PAGE B44
According to Google Analytics, 37
per cent of site visitors are under 25
years old, and 71 per cent are under 35.
Moviepilot Inc CEO Tobi Bauckhage
says that last fall, he and his co-
founders decided to change the direc-
tion of their movie fan site to take posts
directly from readers, which is when
usage began to take off. In March, it
had 17.3 million unique US visitors,
more than double that of a year ago,
according to comScore. In a single week
in April, fan posts outnumbered editor
posts 1,431 to 486.
Bauckhage attributes the growing
popularity to fans like Jones, the Georgia
teen who for the last year has written
more than a post a day for Moviepilot.
Recently, he pored over a trailer and
deduced---correctly---the hidden nature
of the new character, Vision, in
Avengers: Age of Ultron. He also figured
out how two distinct weapons are actu-
ally part of one giant one that will
determine the universe s fate in the
two-part Avengers sequel three years
"People like Reid knew more about
specifics than some of our editors did,"
says Bauckhage, who sold off the orig-
inal website he founded in Germany
and launched a US version in May 2013.
"We realised we really have to empower
these kids to become creators."
The company rewards contributors
with seats at early movie screenings,
or swag such as action figures, dolls
and mugs. The most popular ones, like
Jones, are awarded with paid contracts
as freelancers---his was US$1,000 a
month---although Jones and the site
said that arrangement had temporarily
ended as school got in the way.
Some studios pay Moviepilot for
access to these influencers. In one deal,
20th Century Fox allowed Moviepilot
horror genre blogger Nicole Renee onto
its lot for a sneak peek at its trailer for
Poltergeist a day before its release. A
few months earlier, she had been given
early access to the Lionsgate movie
Jessabelle, after which she made the
comment: "The film gave me chills
throughout my whole body."
Fox paid the site a significant but
undisclosed sum for a guarantee that
her post about Poltergeist would be
read 100,000 times and the trailer seen
one million times, Bauckhage says.
Usage more than quintupled the tar-
Bauckhage insists contributors are
allowed complete editorial freedom,
and says the deal was cut before Renee
wrote her post. He said the site is also
considering a profit-sharing model with
its most popular writers in the future.
"We re trying to empower fans to
become part of the conversation and
to give them the access, the platform,
the tools to create great content about
the stuff they really care about," Bauck-
hage says. "Now that seems to match
pretty nicely with the interest of the
studio because they re very dependent
on this kind of buzz."
In Jones case, the teenager s freelance
gig with Moviepilot had expired for a
short time, but the site paid for his and
his father s expenses, Bauckhage says.
A Disney spokesman declined to com-
Jones says the arrangement is fair,
and he s looking forward to restarting
a paid relationship with the site. His
father, Bart Jones, says he s proud that
his son took the initiative last year to
turn his love of Marvel movies into a
"They ve paid him for his contribu-
tions. They certainly paid him well with
the trip and the experience," says Jones,
47. "I don t see any other avenues offer-
ing this type of experience to 16-year-
olds. I think it s great."
The younger Jones wrote after the
red carpet event that the movie was
"infinitely better than the first"
Avengers, but called a mid-credits scene
that teased future movies "frustrating"
because it "leaves us with so many
more questions than answers." (AP)
Thursday, May 7, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Blogger Reid Jones poses for a portrait at the premiere for Avengers: Age of
Ultron, in Los Angeles recently. Jones is possibly the world's biggest Marvel
movie fan. For the last year, he's written more than a post a day for fan site
Moviepilot about its superhero universe. AP PHOTO
"People like Reid knew more about
specifics than some of our editors
did. We realised we really have to
empower these kids to become
---MOVIEPILOT INC CEO TOBI BAUCKHAGE
New media model
seeks to empower fans
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