MSN To Stream Live Concerts

Network Live, the company that produced Live 8, has discontinued its relationships with AOL and signed a new distribution deal with MSN to produce live concerts for Webcast. Network Live also has rebranded under the new name Control Room.

For the deal, Control Room will provide 36 concerts in the next year, starting with a Webcast of pianist John Legend's upcoming concert in London on Oct. 2.

AOL, XM Satellite and live event presenting company AEG previously worked with Network Live to produce Webcasts. That deal was entered into after last year's successful Live 8 Webcast. A spokeswoman for Network Live said that the new partnership with MSN provided global reach in its distribution network, greater than what AOL could offer.

Christine Andrews, lead product manager for MSN, said that the deal was part of the portal's push toward offering more original content. "They have the relationships with the labels and the people in the music industry to bring concerts online," she said. "We will be the distribution partners for them, offering the concerts live and on demand."

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Andrews added that MSN would be responsible for monetizing the live video content with ads, and the company will sell the space through its newly formed Digital Advertising Solutions team.

Erik Flannigan, vice president of programming for AOL, said that the deal with Network Live ended because the process of signing multichannel deals with artists was becoming too arduous. "From AOL's perspective, once it got more complicated to consistently book those shows, we started to question whether or not it would be better for us to just go back in-house."

Flannigan said that AOL would investigate other ways of getting live content. "We'll be talking to the biggest artists in the world and booking live shows ourselves," he said.

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