REDMOND, Wash., May 3, 2006 — At today’s MSN® Strategic Account Summit, MSN announced a new initiative, called MSN Originals, as part of its expanding content investments to fuel continued growth of MSN. MSN Originals is focused on partnering with the best and brightest creative minds in the media industry to bring the new generation of storytelling online. As part of the MSN Originals initiative, MSN also announced an original content partnerships with Reveille, a leading independent Hollywood production studio and distribution company that has produced groundbreaking critical and ratings hits including NBC’s “The Office” and “The Biggest Loser,” FX’s “30 Days,” MTV’s “Date My Mom,” and with Be Jane Inc., a multimedia content producer and Web community for women’s home improvement. MSN Originals content will combine video, interactive community features and rich editorial to create unique experiences that will be deeply integrated throughout the MSN network.
“MSN is a leader in creating massive audiences online and in helping marketers effectively reach those audiences,” said John Nicol, general manager of MSN.com at Microsoft Corp. “By partnering with the media industry to add original, interactive, exclusive content to our portfolio, we will drive even deeper engagement with our audience and open up significant new opportunities for advertisers.”
Innovative Partnerships to Co-Produce Made-for-Broadband Content
Under the terms of the Reveille agreement, MSN has struck an exclusive multiproject deal with Reveille to create and produce original online programming. MSN is creating a production fund to be used by Reveille to produce pilots and original branded entertainment programming designed specifically for the Internet. Reveille will use its skills honed in producing for televised media to craft great ideas; recruit the best writing, producing and performing talent; and deliver compelling programming in entirely new ways online. The content will go beyond what is possible in traditional television today by incorporating video, enlisting audience participation, and offering both linear and nonlinear formats. Shows that are successful initially online can potentially be extended to other formats, including television and mobile. Reveille is the leader in branded television entertainment, forging new advertising and sponsorship finance models for broadcast and cable television, and is a key player in the international television marketplace, distributing and producing more than 500 hours of content worldwide to over 100 countries.
“The digital future has arrived, and in collaboration with MSN we will be creating new forms of content without boundaries,” said Ben Silverman, CEO of Reveille. “We believe in a multiplatform world where the best elements of an idea can be tailored to the attributes of the specific media, enabling the audience to have more enriched experiences and for advertisers to contextualize themselves in a more profound way.”
MSN is also partnering with Be Jane to create an original online series of video and interactive editorial do-it-yourself home improvement content targeted at women. The series, featuring Heidi Baker and Eden Jarrin (aka “The Janes”), will empower viewers with do-it-yourself know-how, including projects, tips, tricks, trials, tribulations and real “Jane” stories from women across the country. More than just basic how-to, Be Jane brings fun, relatability and inspiration to empower people through topics such as “spicing up the bedroom” and “creating a backyard retreat.” The content will be deeply integrated into MSN Lifestyle, MSN Spaces and MSN Video.
“Up until recently, there have been few resources for women to turn to for home improvement. We’ve learned that by providing relatable information, creative inspiration and a community of ‘Janes,’ we can empower them to take on tasks in their home they never thought possible,” said Eden Jarrin, CEO of Be Jane. “That’s why Be Jane on MSN is a great pairing. By expanding our reach, we can instruct and connect with more viewers, giving women a home for home improvement.”
Expanded Opportunities for Marketers, Advertisers
By partnering with the media industry to produce original content, MSN is creating rich new opportunities for advertisers to integrate into and around the content itself. In addition to traditional display and streaming video advertising opportunities, advertisers can take advantage of in-content product integration, as well as be deeply involved in the early stages of content creation and production. Reveille was one of the first production companies to fully fund a reality TV series, NBC’s “The Restaurant,” by integrating advertisers into the television content.
“We’re excited to team up with the media industry to drive new innovation in online advertising and branded content integration,” said Gayle Troberman, senior director of the MSN Branded Entertainment and Experiences Team at Microsoft. “Together we will push the boundaries of what interactive means for consumers and marketers by bringing together the best of Hollywood, Madison Avenue and Redmond.”
More information about MSN Originals can be found at http://originals.msn.com.
Reveille is a leading independent production and distribution company focused on exploiting worldwide intellectual property rights through scripted and alternative television formats. Launched in March of 2002 by Ben Silverman, former Head of International Packaging at the William Morris Agency, the company leverages its unique relationships with the world’s top broadcasters and producers to acquire, produce and distribute innovative entertainment programming across all television genres such as “The Office” (NBC); “30 Days” (FX); “The Biggest Loser” (NBC); “BlowOut” (Bravo); “Bound For Glory” (ESPN); “Nashville Star” (USA); “Date My Mom” (MTV); and “The Restaurant” (NBC). Reveille is also the world leader in creating integrated marketing opportunities for leading advertisers while developing alternative financing paradigms. The company maintains offices in both Los Angeles and New York.
About MSN and Windows Live
MSN attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. Windows Live, a new set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. MSN and Windows Live will be offered alongside each other as complementary services. Some Windows Live services entered an early beta phase on Nov. 1, 2005; these and future beta updates can be found at http://ideas.live.com. Windows Live is available at http://www.live.com.
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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