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FarmVille Meets the Hollywood Tie-In

Date: Jun 23 2011 07:51:27 Source: BusinessWeek Views:
KeyWord: FarmVille, Weeds, Hollywood

Weeds 

What's a Hollywood producer to do after selling the rights to the DVDs, TV show, action figures, and apparel tied to a summer blockbuster? It's 2011, and that means: branded virtual goods.

Social games played on Facebook are the new frontier for film and television tie-ins. This summer, two movies—Disney's (DIS) Cars 2 and Fox's (NWS) Mr. Popper's Penguins—and a popular Showtime (CBS) series will attempt to build buzz and some extra revenue by featuring their characters in Facebook games.

For help, studios are turning to developers with experience in social games, an overnight industry that's amassed an audience of more than 300 million people who will spend $4.9 billion this year on virtual goods—tractors on Zynga's FarmVille, and so forth—estimates research firm ThinkEquity. "We've been asked by every major media property in the world to do something in the last 12 months," says Peter Relan, executive chairman of CrowdStar, a game maker in Burlingame, Calif.

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