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Fox taps Yahoo to promote films

Fox Filmed Entertainment signs a deal with the portal to promote movies and videos, its largest advertising commitment to an online media company.

Fox Filmed Entertainment said Wednesday that it has signed a deal with Yahoo to promote movies and videos, its largest advertising commitment to an online media company.

The deal involves advertising and market research, but financial terms were not released. Fox said it would promote two upcoming films on Yahoo, the animated "Ice Age," starring Ray Romano, and "Minority Report," directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise.

Fox will also use the relationship to push three new videos: "Don't Say A Word," "Shallow Hal" and "Behind Enemy Lines." Yahoo will also run an auction of items from "Ice Age," including original storyboard art and character drawings.

The companies said the deal will allow Fox to monitor the effectiveness of online marketing on ticket sales and video purchases. Yahoo will provide data about the performance of the movie promotions, which will be featured throughout the portal's more highly trafficked areas.

Since Yahoo appointed former Warner Bros. studio head Terry Semel as its chief executive, the company has attempted to appeal to entertainment companies as an online partner. Semel has brought in former Warner Bros. executives to help sell the troubled Web portal to major studios looking to promote new releases on the Internet.

"Our plans are to grow the number of relationships we have with entertainment companies and to make those relationships deeper so we're integral to what those entertainment companies are doing online," said David Mandelbrot, vice president of Yahoo Entertainment.

Mandelbrot would not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but said the agreement was "significant" in its ability to generate revenue from movie promotion.

Last year, Yahoo signed a promotional deal with Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment to tout Sony's films online. Yahoo currently has other agreements with Vivendi Universal, AOL Time Warner's Warner Bros. and Walt Disney, Mandelbrot said.

News.com's Jim Hu contributed to this report.