Potter's worldwide wizard web

Bloggers are wild about Harry with 'Phoenix,' 'Hallows' talk

As fans flock to the latest Harry Potter movie and book, Internet hype surrounding the brand has reached monumental heights, according to Nielsen BuzzMetrics.

Potter buzz, measured in total blog mentions of the brand, has peaked this month as the fifth movie of the franchise, Warner Bros. Pictures' "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," hit theaters July 11 and the seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling's series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," was released Saturday.

"Harry Potter has clearly trumped iPhone buzz, which is just extraordinary," said Pete Blackshaw, chief marketing officer of BuzzMetrics. "It's close to 2% of all conversations on the blogosphere."

With the Leaky Cauldron and the Harry Potter Automatic News Aggregator leading the way as the most linked-to sites in Potter conversations, the teenage wizard's only competition for most-tracked personality on the blogosphere for the past two years has been President Bush. One reason for this is that the franchise's target audience is a young-skewing demographic, one that Blackshaw said is "overrepresented" on the Internet.

"It's one of those areas where it touches just about every kid in the world," he said. "This brand is baked into the tapestry of everyday narrative."

Much like Apple's marketing of the iPhone, the Potter franchise also has benefited from withholding information — a trick that only works when the anticipation is already there.

"Anything you say that you're not going to reveal becomes an object of conversation," Blackshaw said. "Only a fraction of brands can get away with that."

Buzz around the franchise has become so massive, he said, that it is "funneling" unrelated search terms, such as "castles" or "gremlins," into Potter-related sites. Although the final book is out and the sixth movie, "Harry Potter and the Blood Prince," is not due until November 2008, Blackshaw doesn't see these conversations stopping.

"I predict a major consumer movement led by the kids to bring back one more book," he said.

Nielsen BuzzMetrics is owned by the Nielsen Co., parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.
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