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A congested summer release schedule packed with big-budget movies means Hollywood studios have to be savvy about how to market their films.

Younger people are spending less time watching television and more time online, so studios are spending an increasing amount of their marketing budgets on internet campaigns.

Paramount’s big summer bet is Transformers, which will be released next month. The Viacom-owned studio started marketing the film months ago with an extensive interactive marketing campaign on MySpace, the social networking site.

For Amy Powell, senior vice-president of interactive marketing at Paramount, tapping into MySpace’s community of young users was crucial.

“With the fragmentation of media, the younger demographic is becoming more important to find,” she says.

“TV is still incredibly important, but it’s one-way communication.” MySpace, she adds, “gives fans the ability to really engage with the Transformers franchise and then market it amongst themselves”.

The need to release films simultaneously around the world is a further complicating factor for studios planning a marketing campaign.

For Spider-Man 3, Sony Pictures Entertainment arranged premieres in most European, Asian and US markets ahead of the film’s release.

“We put our talent out on the road,” says Jeff Blake, vice-chairman. Then, in the first week of May, the studio ensured the film opened in a different market every day, to reflect different cinema-going patterns.

“We’ve learned to open on the best day in each market, even if that means opening a few days ahead of the US,” says Mr Blake.

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