Traffic through the Wellington-based news site Scoop has trebled since it posted photographs from the set of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings on Tuesday.
The pictures show the set of the village of Bree, which is under construction in a former army barracks in the Wellington suburb of Seatoun.
Scoop's Alastair Thompson says page accesses in pursuit of the pictures have been clocking up at over 1000 an hour - making yesterday Scoop's busiest day ever. Most of the traffic is international, with about a third from the US.
Scoop has a content partnership with TheOneRing.Net a US site dedicated to news and rumours about Jackson's movie, which began shooting in Wellington this week.
Xoanon, a spokesman for TheOneRing.Net, says the pictures, posted as part of the site's regular 'Spy Report' section, have been attracting about 300,000 hits a day, with some of the visitors in turn clicking through to Scoop.
Thompson says Scoop has had no contact from Jackson's Wingnut Films, but notes that "the interest in these particular photos is only so high because Jackson is playing his cards so close to his chest … if this is a foretaste of the interest in Lord of the Rings, then its a very strong indication that the movie is going to be a huge international story."
The pictures are at www.scoop.co.nz/frames/stories/HL9910/S00053.htm