August 16, 2005

BigChampagne Links with AOL for Music, Video Charting

BBRM: Media-measurement service BigChampagne is getting bigger and recently announced a partnership with America On Line (AOL) to monitor AOL Music’s Top 11 song and video charts, as well as the online service’s AOL Music Sessions and AOL Music Breakers.

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August 04, 2005

AOL Launches Online Radio With XM

BetaNews: AOL has began testing a version of its radio service that includes XM Satellite Radio content. AOL first announced details of the partnership with XM in mid-April, which also includes the company taking over XM's current online radio offering. AOL is requesting during the beta phase that customers send their feedback.

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July 25, 2005

McCartney Signs Exclusive Deal with AOL Music

Press Release: I was kind of surprised but relieved to hear that Paul McCartney has finally lightened up a bit to the digital scene - since he's reportedly "suspicious of digital music services." This announcement follows on the heels of his Live 8 webcast of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with Bono...Apparently, AOL gave him a great pitch though and it will soon offer exclusive access to McCartney’s forthcoming single, “Fine Line” for 24-hours the day before the single ships. Fans can use AOL Music First Listen - available for free on the web - beginning Tuesday, July 26 at 12:01am EST.  The single is taken from his new studio album, “Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard”, which is expected to ship to regular outlets in mid-September and coincides with the September 16 launch of McCartney's new 37-city US tour...

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July 12, 2005

Network Live: Ownership Structure, Investment and Business Model

As we mentioned in the previous posts below, the joint venture has investment from AOL, AEG and XM. In our first post, I mentioned that the dollar amount on the investment I heard was in the $25-$30 million range. It is in fact closer to $15 million, from a trusted source. For that money, each of the three companies own a part of Network Live, besides Kevin Wall, the founder.
Also, each of these partners will pay Network Live a licensing fee for the content/programming it gets from the new company.
As for Network Live's business model, besides the licensing fee, it will sell advertising.sponsorships on top of the fee. And then, international licensing to other companies. For now, no premium/subscription based services are planned.

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Network Live: Press Conference Details

Notes from the Network Live press conference listen-in:
Jonathan Miller, CEO, AOL: The partnership has put together new dream team in this area. This heralds the next stage of digital entertainment...
Hugh Panero, CEO, XM: We believe live music is an essential part of our service...this deal has come together very organically. Better to do it together than go it alone.
Tim Leiweke, President & CEO, AEG: We'll ultimately be responsible for bringing content to the table. We'll also bring in our own artists and our concerts, and open them up. The second part: we're building world-class studios/venues...and we'll be providing the venues to produce these events.
Kevin Wall, CEO, Network Live: Network Live will be exclusive to the different affiliate partners we've mentioned. We'll look at other distribution avenues like VOD, wireless and others. We'll also announce some global partnerships in the next few months.
Ownership Structure: We all are partners: we are invested in the company…we're not disclosing the ownership structure, including Kevin, who is a co-founder.
Business model: It is a licensing vehicle that the different vertical partners are paying and there is an advertising sponsorship component to the programming model. The [audience] numbers are very attractive to the advertisers and internal partners. For now, we're not planning any pay-per-view...
Licensing Fees: We're being paid licensing fees for the programming, and as we develop franchises, we have opportunities to bring in advertising. Network Live will also take the product and distribute it on a global basis…that might be more traditional in the early days.
Kevin Wall: We're going to try and create a sense of community...on the lines of what we did with Live 8. We're working on this community: chat, digital signatures, interactive components on improv.
Hugh: We'll try and record everything on high-definition.
Kevin: The current plan is to distribute in digital form only...both with XM and AOl and other vertical players still to be announced. We don't have any current plans for physical distribution...
Kevin and Hugh: We will be live with our live-event programming...we're hopefully going to offer these events on an on-demand basis, and AOL will play a big part in it.
Jonathan: On on-demand: The on-demand usage is 3-5 or even 10 times the original live event...that's our experience. It is a really new model of digital entertainment.
Jonathan: On artist and label involvement: We believe we have a great position with the industry and that will continue...we already have good participation in AOL's music session and other events at AOL.
Kevin: We're offering a tremendous marketing vehicle to the recording industry...we're empowering the record industry...we're bringing all of the parties together in a very cohesive fashion.

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More on Network Live: Part 3

As we reported first, the three companies involved, AOL, AEG and XM, have formally announced the company: "Network Live", in part owned by the three, along with Kevin Wall. Network Live will produce live programming focusing on music and comedy performances - many originating from AEG owned or operated venues, such as Staples Center...The company will also leverage the expertise of AEG's live entertainment division, AEG LIVE.
Timothy Leiweke, President & CEO, AEG: "An ambitious vision but clearly a doable and realistic one due to the resources and expertise that each of the three organizations possess."
-- AOL, AEG and XM To Launch On-Demand "Live Channel" Venture
-- CBS News Finds Solution To Lack Of Cable Outlet: Broadband

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More on AOL-AEG-XM Venture: Network Live

As we reported first last night, the new AOL-AEG-XM venture is being announced today at a press conference by AOL Chairman & CEO Jon Miller...the venture is called "Network Live". Besides Kevin Wall, Andrew Thau, the former president and CEO of VOY, the Latino-focused media company, is the COO of the venture. Mike Bonifer, former creative head at iXL, is the VP of Creative at Network Live. Brad Barrish, who previously worked at Wherehouse Music, is the VP of content development.
We'll have more details soon...

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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, 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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July 03, 2005

AOL's Mojo To Lose Now

AOL had a banner day yesterday...I have to say, they pulled it off remarkably well. Much like a lot of people, I started on MTV, and went on AOLMusic during a commercial break, and then realized what I was missing. I think someone in AOL had that epiphany after they bought the rights: let's sub-license the rights on TV to MTV, let people compare, and they'll realize how superior the online experience is for this sort of natively multitasking event.
They also did a smart thing with in-stream advertising: it was capped at about 2 ads during the whole concert (I'm assuming they are frequency capping it at that, per session.)
My only beef: they should have made the full-screen experience better than it was. Other than that, it was all about keeping things simple. Here's the it how you want to...
For AOL, which is betting the whole house on opening up its walled gardens, this is the best house-warming party they could hope for.
[Read this on BroadbandReports...]

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June 30, 2005

AOL Licenses Live 8 Concert Webcasts in China

Reuters: AOL is surely reaping in a good amount of money re-licensing Live 8 rights to othe rmedia companies. It ha snow licensed out China rights to Tencent Holdings, which plans to Webcast the concerts to an estimated 20 million viewers on its Website, for free a few days after the actual concerts take place around the world on July 2.
The Webcasts will be translated into Chinese, AOL said. Tencent IM is the most widely used IM in China...

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