MSN Creates Interactive Reality Experience for Mark Burnett Productions’ “Rock Star: INXS”

REDMOND, Wash. — May 19, 2005 — MSN and Mark Burnett Productions today announced that MSN will be the official online home for Mark Burnett Productions’ upcoming reality series “Rock Star: INXS” in the United States. MSN will create content and sell advertising on the site, which will be available at and accessible across the MSN® network.

Launching in June, the MSN “Rock Star: INXS” site will extend and enhance the show for both the contestants and the audience by taking fans backstage and giving them a VIP rock star experience through video, content and communication tools from MSN Entertainment, MSN Video, MSN Music, MSN Spaces, MSN Messenger, MSN Alerts and MSN Shopping. The site will let people see up-close the talent and commitment it takes to become a rock star by bringing them virtually inside the competition.

“Rock Star: INXS,” to air on CBS this summer, is the ultimate aspiration television series: a competition aimed at finding a new lead singer for the multiplatinum band INXS. Each week, a contestant will be voted off the show by a combination of INXS band members, judges and audience members.

Fans who visit the official site for the series on MSN can do the following:

  • Get the latest information and gossip from the show

  • Relive contestants’ performances again and again on MSN Video and share them with friends

  • See exclusive content filmed specially for MSN

  • Download custom playlists from the contestants and INXS band members on MSN Music

  • Check out blogs on MSN Spaces from key members of the show

  • Chat with other fans to share thoughts about the show and support favorite contestants through MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces

  • Shop for official “Rock Star: INXS” merchandise on MSN Shopping

  • Take “Rock Star: INXS” polls and quizzes via the Encarta® online encyclopedia

Brand advertisers interested in the unique opportunity to reach a massive, highly engaged, cross-generational, 18- to 49-year-old target demographic — and all fans of rock n’ roll and reality TV — can advertise on the official MSN “Rock Star: INXS” site and within the multiple MSN services that “Rock Star: INXS” will leverage. Ad opportunities on MSN for the site include 15-second or 30-second streaming video ads on MSN Video, and standard Universal Ad Package (UAP) ads on the MSN “Rock Star: INXS” site and throughout the MSN network. MSN is selling all advertising space on MSN related to “Rock Star: INXS.”

“We’re excited to team up with MSN for this series because it gives us access to a massive online audience and multiple platforms to reach fans and build communities,” said Mark Burnett. “In addition to offering exclusive video and music content, we can use interactive communications services like MSN Spaces and MSN Messenger to help fans develop an even deeper connection to the series.”

“Mark Burnett is a rare talent, and we’re thrilled to be working with him on such an exciting project,”” said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president for the MSN Information Services & Merchant Platform. “By combining the creative excellence of Mark Burnett with the customer reach and technology expertise of MSN, we will deliver a dynamic site that lets people interact with the show and our advertisers’ brands in compelling ways.”

“It’s fantastic that the series will involve millions of viewers and fans around the world in an engaging online experience. This gives our fans, old and new, unprecedented opportunity to stay connected to INXS and involved in its future,” said the band’s drummer Jon Farriss. “When INXS first started, we were very limited in ways we could reach out to fans. Thanks to Mark Burnett Productions, INXS and MSN joining forces, people will not only see the inner workings of INXS, but will also have a say in the band’s future by voting for our next lead singer. That’s an amazing thing.”

“Rock Star: INXS” will be broadcast on CBS three times weekly beginning with a special one-hour premiere on Monday, July 11 (9–10 p.m., EDT/PDT), followed by a one-hour broadcast on Tuesday, July 12 (10–11 p.m., EDT/PDT) and a half-hour edition on Wednesday, July 13 (9:30–10 p.m., EDT/PDT).

Beginning the following week, “Rock Star: INXS” will be seen regularly on Mondays (9:30–10 p.m., EDT/PDT), Tuesdays (10–11 p.m., EDT/PDT) and Wednesdays (9:30–10 p.m., EDT/PDT).

About MSN

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About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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