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Microsoft Strikes Concert Deal With Live 8 Provider

  • Reuters, Wednesday, September 27, 2006 11:30 AM
MSN, Microsoft's Web portal, has struck an interesting deal with Control Room, the company behind the successful Webcast of last year's Live 8 event, to stream live ad-supported concerts on MSN. MSN has badly needed something like this to differentiate itself from the myriad content providers and content aggregators out there, like Yahoo, YouTube and MySpace. Amid all the hype surrounding consumer-generated content and online video, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Web portals like AOL and MSN have become also-rans online. But the multi-year agreement makes MSN the exclusive provider of 36 different live events that will also be made available on-demand for an agreed period of time after the event. The agreement is for MSN's 42 Web sites around the globe. The shows will be free and ad-supported. If Microsoft can do an adequate job of getting the word out, this could prove to be a major coup for MSN, which has been bleeding younger users to sites like YouTube and MySpace. Young people love concerts (provided Control Room can provide quality acts), and they love free content, so this could be a hit both for MSN and advertisers. Speaking of quality acts, Grammy-award winning R&B artist John Legend will be the first to perform on MSN at his live concert in London. Control Room is known for the Live 8 Webcast partnership it forged with AOL last year. Nearly 100 million people viewed the Live 8 clips on AOL last summer.

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