Kazaa launches hip-hop TV show

Digital broadcaster Pseudo.com says it plans to release a weekly TV show on the Kazaa file sharing system.

The show, which will be hosted by rap king Ice-T, will be available in the next few weeks to Kazaa's 60 million registered users. File traders on Kazaa will be able to download a new episode of the hour-long show each week. The first recording will be a feature on hip-hop culture called "One Nation" that fits well with the P2P demographic. It will showcase the artists, culture and history of hip-hop, filmed digitally and encoded with MPEG-2.

The real genius of this idea is to include paid commercial advertising and product placements to support the production and distribution of the show. P2P networks offer ideal advertising vehicles if the ads are attached to material that people actually want. People who don't want ads on P2P networks can simply ignore the show. Soft drinks company Red Bull has already stepped forward to sponsor One Nation. How could the company ignore the opportunity to reach millions of young viewers?

As Pseudo.com points out, this type of paid advertising is a good way to directly compensate artists and beat Hollywood at its own game. Since the big entertainment companies see P2P networks as only forums for thieves, they will completely miss the enormous marketing and distribution potential of these networks.

Pseudo.com, which is owned by New York's INTV, has been broadcasting original Web video programming since 1997. The company went bankrupt and in 2001, INTV bought its assets for $2 million. These assets included an interative operating system that allows Web producers to establish chat rooms, ads, video and polling sites. Altnet, which is owned by Brilliant Digital Entertainment, also has technology that packages content on Kazaa allowing copyright holders to generate sales revenue.

Once companies figure out that the potential of content marketing on P2P networks far outweigh unauthorized distribution, they will stay ahead of the P2P curve and learn to use the technology. Last year, even Microsoft teamed up with film studio Lions Gate to release a trailer on Kazaa for the movie "Rules of Attraction."

I'd say INTV got a great deal with its purchase of Pseudo.com. How long will it take before a whole host of video producers air their shows on P2P networks?

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Ann Harrison

Network World

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