Coming to a Monitor Near You

TV producer and social networking giant team up

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Inc. has partnered with popular social networking site MySpace to become the single largest provider of video content to its MySpaceTV Web portal.

Under a deal announced last week, Allen’s Entertainment Studios will provide several hours per week of original video content that will be broadcast on 10 separate MySpaceTV Web channels. Users will be able to receive regular updates from the channels, and share episodes by using blogs and adding videos to their profiles. Videos will be up on MySpaceTV “within a few weeks,” according to the company. Full terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Entertainment Studios produces 15 television programs, including Entertainers with Byron Allen; The American Athlete; Urban Style; Comics Unleashed; and Beautiful Homes & Great Estates, all of which will be updated regularly for the MySpaceTV channels.

“MySpace made a sizable commitment to promoting our channels to their users, which will generate a great deal of traffic and awareness of our channels on the MySpace platform,” says Allen, a comedian and talk-show host.

Allen says MySpaceTV was his first choice as an online partner because it is able to launch content on multiple channels simultaneously and it had the technology that could accommodate the bandwidth to handle Entertainment Studios content at one time.

“Entertainment Studio’s content is fresh, proven, of quality, and has a unique look and feel about it, and our users responded well to the content,” says Jason Kirk, vice president of MySpaceTV. “Entertainment Studios content is extremely compelling not just for the African American audiences, but a wide variety of MySpace users.”

“We are highly confident that it will be a profitable venture for both of our companies,” says Allen, who would not provide revenue projections.

Because it can be hard to track, “no one knows what the ultimate revenue for these kind of things are,” says Brad Berens, chief content officer and editor-at-large for iMedia and ad:tech, two companies that produce events and develop interactive marketing strategies.

What is known is that more people are watching videos on the Internet. More than 10 billion videos were viewed online in February, an increase of 66% from the same period last year, according to market research company comScore. Researcher eMarketer estimates that U.S. online advertising spending will reach $25.9 billion this year, and $41 billion by 2011. “The issue is how much of that will come from video content?” Berens says.

MySpace, a unit of Fox Interactive Media Inc., has close to 110 million users worldwide, and MySpaceTV delivered 171 million minutes of video in February 2008. MySpace provides a dedicated audience to advertisers who are concerned about falling revenue as digital video recorders and interactive media allow viewers to bypass commercials.

Fifteen years ago, when he started Entertainment Studios, Allen had no idea that he was building a strong foundation for interactive media.

“We have content that is perfect for the Web, because it is in segments that are four to six minutes. It is the perfect fit at the perfect time,” says Allen, who was featured as

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    • Infinitehi4

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