July 12, 2005
AOL, AEG and XM To Launch On-Demand "Live Channel" Venture
America Online is tying up with movie theater/stadium/entertainment giant AEG Group and satellite radio player XM to launch an on-demand "live entertainment" venture, paidContent.org has learned. The formal announcement is being announced today later...
The new venture is being headed by Kevin Wall, the former vice chairman of iXL and the executive producer of the recently concluded Live8 concert. Wall has formed a team based in Beverly Hills in LA.
From what I know, the joint venture company will pool money from all these players and secure rights of live entertainment events (much like AOL's Live 8 effort) for on-demand viewing online; think concerts, comedy, clubs, other venues. One source told me that the money being invested could be the $25-30 million range, though that seems on the higher side to me.
The thinking behind the venture: there's a lot of media value to be extracted from live events after they conclude and online enables that. The live events and the first-release window, as the industry terminology goes, are powerful marketing vehicles for later, on-demand viewing, and possible ancillary downloads and physical sales. AEG has multiple interests in entertainment and sports (it owns Staples Center, Colosseum at Caesars Palace; owns a bunch of NHL and MLS sports teams; has a majority control in Regal Entertainment Group, the biggest movie chain in U.S.; and most importantly for this venture, AEG LIVE, the second largest live-entertainment company in the world) and the idea is to leverage that, along with the online and radio audience of AOL and XM, to deliver these programs live and on-demand.
It is possible that the new joint venture will sub-license these right to wireless and other TV players down the line, much on the lines of what AOL did with Live 8 rights.
On similar lines, AOL has more broadband channels/joint ventures in the wings; concepts include a WB-focused video channel; a long-form video channel running pilot previews of network shows, busted pilots, long clips and other TV-related content; a women's lifestyle channel and potentially one for kids (through AOL's KOL and RED network).
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