Archive for June, 2010

Official versus fan blogs: A lesson from TheOneRing.net versus The Hobbit: The Official Movie blog

If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan of a certain age, as I am, you probably became a fan of TheOneRing.net before the Fellowship of the Ring was even released. It began as a site for NZ LOTR fans to share information and photos from the many places around NZ where the filming of the trilogy was taking place. For me, and I’m sure for countless others around the globe, TheOneRing.net was a tantalising teaser while we were waiting for the first movie to come out. I don’t know if there was an official movie site – I didn’t need one – the fan site was amply supplying us with news and photos.

Interestingly, although there is an official The Hobbit: The official blog for the two Hobbit movies which are now in pre-production (or is it in production now, I’m not sure), TheOneRing.net is still trumping the official site for news. Case in point – it was fansite TheOneRing.net which broke the news that director Guillermo del Torro had resigned from the helm of the Hobbit movies. I’m sure when a Hollywood studio (and all the megabucks that entails) is involved, it’s very difficult to change how the PR machine works. But it seems like an opportunity missed that we didn’t hear that news straight from the horse’s mouth over at The Hobbit official blog.

Over the course of its life, the Hobbit blog has rarely been updated. They did host a live online conversation with Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Torro back in May 2008 (good lord, was it really that long ago?) but that’s been the only real highlight.

Shame to see that a blog which launched in December 2007 (to coincide with the announcement that the two Hobbit movies were definitely going ahead) had a large head of steam to start with (423 comments on the post announcing the movies), then 60 comments on the announcement of del Torro as Director of the films, then just two comments on the announcement of the live chat with Jackson and del Torro. That looks like a big waste of the original audience who had a real appetite for official news from the Hobbit movie production. Yes, it takes time (and I’m sure wrangling with clearances etc behind the scenes) but if properly fed with content and attention, The Hobbit blog could have been a really popular way for fans to get official news of the movie, and been a real PR boon for the project.

Fortunately, we have fans to keep us going – thank you, TheOneRing.net for all your efforts over the years. :)

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