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AOL, XM, AEG and Live 8 Producer Create Permanent Network

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NEW YORK ( -- Building on the success of its Live 8 coverage, America Online is teaming with XM Satellite Radio, live-event organizer AEG and Live 8 executive producer Kevin Wall to create a new entertainment network.
Photo: AP
Paul McCartney performs in Hyde Park during the Live 8 concert that was digitally broadcast around the world by AOL.

Network Live
To be called Network Live, the new venture will operate across AOL and XM as well as third-party media, including video on demand, wireless and high-definition TV.

The four parties will share an equity stake in the joint venture, believed to be the first digital-only multiplatform entertainment company.

“We’re creating the network of the future,” Mr. Wall said in a conference call yesterday announcing the venture, “which is being able to access digital content anywhere, anytime, on any device.”

The concept was born out of a 2004 conversation between Mr. Wall and Jon Miller, AOL’s chairman-CEO. Mr. Miller said the two agreed TV had forsaken live programming and began compiling the “dream team” to lead the project.

Other partners planned
AOL has already partnered with XM on a cross-promotional basis as well as on Live 8 coverage, which AOL licensed to XM. The companies will have exclusive distribution within their categories, and content will be licensed to other soon-to-be-announced partners as well.

AOL will offer the Network Live musical content on its AOL Music Live channel and comedy content in a separate space on the portal. Advertiser sponsorships will be a component of the network, Mr. Wall said.

XM will offer Network Live on its XM Live channel, which features live music, comedy and spoken-word performances, as well as on the music channels that fit the particular content on a case-by-case basis. For example, a jazz performance would air on XM’s Real Jazz channel. All of the live performances will be part of XM’s commercial-free music lineup.

Second largest live event company
AEG, the world’s second-largest live-entertainment company, is charged with providing most of the content. And while the eventual goal is to offer 24/7 live programming, it will not begin as such. AEG, which counts Los Angeles’ Staples Center in its stable of assets, will renovate three venues to record better digital sound. It is also setting up studios to record more intimate live performances.

The partnership, said AEG President-CEO Tim Leiweke, will be a “tremendous marketing vehicle” for artists and their tours. AEG produces and promotes concert tours for artists such as Paul McCartney and Prince.

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Anna Heinemann contributed to this report.

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