MSN To Broadcast Live Concerts
Microsoft’s MSN will webcast live concerts to its users after signing an exclusive global partnership with Control Room, the company behind the web broadcast of last year’s Live 8 event. The move to offer major live performances online is the latest strategy by Microsoft to drive both consumer and advertiser growth on its sites with a range of new entertainment and media features to challenge rivals including Yahoo, YouTube and News Corp.’s MySpace.
As part of the multiyear agreement, MSN will exclusively air 36 different live events which will also be available for on-demand viewing for an agreed period afterward. The shows will be available on MSN’s 42 sites around the world. The shows will be free to the viewer and supported by advertising, according to Rob Bennett, general manager of entertainment and video services for MSN. MSN kicks off the partnership with Control Room on Oct. 2 with a live performance from Sony BMG R&B singer John Legend delivered from London.
Control Room, formerly known as Network Live, produced the widely acclaimed Live 8 event webcast in partnership with Time Warner Inc.’s online unit AOL. It was part of a one-year contract with AOL which has now ended. Nearly 100 million people viewed the Live 8 video clips on AOL over six weeks in the summer of 2005.