MSN To Stream Web-Only 'Rock Star' Footage

MSN will create an official "Rock Star" Web site, complete with exclusive streaming video content filmed by a separate crew, as part of its deal with reality-TV honcho Mark Burnett.

The deal between Mark Burnett Productions and MSN also involves the portal site agreeing to host blogs and music files related to the show, said Conrad Riggs, who negotiated the agreement for Mark Burnett Productions.

"Rock Star," which will air on CBS starting in July, features aspiring musicians competing for a spot as the lead singer of the 1980s pop band INXS. The show was filmed at a mansion in the Hollywood Hills, which housed the winners of open auditions held in January and February.

"This is an opportunity to reach millions of engaged consumers in an entertaining way," said MSN Product Manager Karen Redetzki. "[The deal] is about utilizing the assets on MSN and bringing 'Rock Star' to life through those assets, and allowing consumers to experience things beyond the show."



MSN also is rolling out a host of advertising opportunities associated with the show's site, including interstitial ads in the streaming video feeds, universal ad package display ads, and branding opportunities on MSN Messenger. Redetzki said that MSN hasn't yet received any commitments from advertisers. Negotiation for ad sales began on Tuesday.

Riggs said Mark Burnett Productions selected MSN because the Web portal offered them a very high level of integration with the portal's relevant services like MSN Video and MSN Music. "They made us an unbelievable proposal as to how they would support the program online, content-wise, and how it would be cross-promoted though the MSN network," he said.

Riggs cited MSN's music offering as a reason why they signed with MSN to promote the show. "We think ['Rock Star'] will tie in really well with MSN Music and all their plans to make inroads into this space," he said. "There will be a lot of musical tie-ins."

Recently, Mark Burnett Productions also signed an extension to its deal with Yahoo! to promote their reality show, "The Apprentice." That deal has similar provisions, in which Yahoo! hosts original content from the show on its site.

"Just like in the TV business, we like to work with more than one network. It's good for us to be in business with multiple portals," said Riggs. "Yahoo! and MSN are the current leaders in the content area, so that'd be another reason why we signed up with MSN."

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