Microsoft Re-ups For Branded Show

Cable web TechTV to produce 3 new shows

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%%STORYIMAGE_LEFT%% Tech TV, Paul Allen's cable network, has struck a verbal agreement with Microsoft to produce three more half-hour episodes of the tech Goliath's branded TV show.

According to George Ehinger, TechTV VP of ad sales and strategic partnerships, "Microsoft Insider Live," a help and information show will air a new program in September— focused around one specific Microsoft product group— then two more shows to debut in October and November that tie into product launches. Even though final contracts have yet been signed, Ehinger says he's moving ahead with production.

Microsoft and TechTV's objective is to infuse production values and editorial content that evoke less an infomercial than a well-produced newsmagazine.

%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% "Even though it is advertising in nature, if it goes a little deeper and keeps the message clean and relevant, viewers enjoy it and receive it acceptingly," said Ehinger.

The first shows were hosted by actors, but focus groups later revealed that viewers wanted to hear from people with firsthand knowledge of the products and the show switched to using Microsoft staffers.

The arrangement with Microsoft as well as a similar partnership with Best Buy were negotiated as independent stand-alone deals. While these deals were not contingent upon a traditional media buy on the network, both brands also buy commercial time. The shows were funded out of non-advertising budgets.

TechTV is available on both analog and digital tiers and reaches 40 million homes.

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