TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Live Earth May Set New Stage for Web Viewing

Live Earth May Set New Stage for Web Viewing

Yinka Adegoke, Reuters (
Sun, 08 Jul 2007 22:51:55 -0500

By Yinka Adegoke

The Live Earth event on Saturday is set to reach millions more people
than previous global productions with its reach boosted by the
fast-growing power of Web video sharing and social networks.

Organizers estimate television broadcasts of the live concerts staged
to raise awareness about climate change will be available to up to 2
billion people although there is no estimate of how many people will
actually watch the shows.

But that viewership may be trumped online where a generation hooked to
social networks like MySpace and video site YouTube share ideas,
photos and videos with their peers.

"Users can create their own program from all the show assets from
around the world," said Kevin Wall, Live Earth founder and CEO of
Control Room which is producing the shows.

"They're going to be able to share those experiences in a way that's
never ever been done in history."

The global Live 8 concert to fight poverty in 2005 was the first major
multi-venue event successfully streamed live with Time Warner Inc.'s
AOL portal on the Web.

But Control Room, which produced Live 8, found it was the on-demand
streams days after the event which had the most impact, especially
after clips were passed round by e-mail.

Live 8 was streamed by users over 100 million times in six weeks. Live
Earth is expected to be three times bigger.

"The viral natural of the streams at Live 8 really came off the back
of that huge water cooler moment with people asking their friends if
they'd seen a particular clip," said Wall.

Live Earth is working with Microsoft Corp. Web portal MSN on live
online broadcast. MSN will also be the only media platform to feature
every minute of all the shows.


But in the age of Google Inc.'s YouTube, MSN and Control Room realize
providing technology that helps friends share clips of their favorite
Live Earth moments on other sites will be even more important than the
live event.

"When you think about the control we've given the user, you could put
together your own Live Earth show after the event," said Joanne
Bradford, chief media officer at MSN.

Organizers expect more than 80 percent of the viewership will be
on-demand in the days following the July 7 event.

The live music performances by stars like the Police and Red Hot Chili
Peppers, as well as 60 original short films, will be edited into short
clips by Control Room for easy sharing.

For example, a user could add a video clip of Madonna performing her
specially penned song 'Hey You' to a blog or social network page and
add a feature allowing visitors to buy a download with proceeds going
to an environmental cause.

That flexibility has become possible with the artists agreeing to give
up their rights without charge for the cause.

Though details are still being finalized, Wall expects Live Earth to
have rights to show the clips for months afterwards.

Media experts say over-restrictive limitations over broadcast rights
on on-demand viewing are fast becoming a thing of the past,
particularly for an event which is trying to make a difference by
getting in front of many eyeballs as possible.

Paul Levinson, professor of communication and media studies at New
York's Fordham University, says video clips will show up eventually on
YouTube or elsewhere outside of MSN, so it makes more sense to enable
video sharing.

"The idea that any organization can keep something in popular culture
to itself is 19th Century thinking," he said.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I don't know about others of you, but I
spent a great deal of time on Saturday watching 'Live Earth' on
televison. I could have chosen to watc it on Internet, but I chose to
watch it on TV instead. PAT]

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