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UMG Launches Broadband Music Trivia Game

A division of Universal Music Group's (UMG) (www.umusic.com), eLabs, launched a music trivia game, "Name that Jam", as part of its four-month broadband pilot program. eLabs, formed in September 1999, is focused on strategy, development and incubation for new technologies and online ventures.

UMG launched its broadband initiative on August 29, 2000 with three multimedia programs, located at www.musicuwant.com, as well as on distribution partner's sites including: RealNetworks' RealGuide, Microsoft's Media Guide, Apple's QuickTime TV as well as various DSL and cable providers; Excite@home's Road Runner and Sprint's, Winfire's. According to Laura Bowling, lead communications consultant for eLabs, UMG is not interested in making.musicuwant.com a consumer destination site, but rather a showcase of programming for distribution partners.

The pilot phase of the initiatives ends in January and they are looking to launch as a full business initiative in early 2001. UMG is currently looking for distribution partners for this broadband content, and will explore various revue models including syndication and advertising based models.

The only numbers that UMG is currently releasing, point to an average user viewing time of 8 to 11 minutes. UMG plans on releasing more information gathered at the close of the pilot phase.

While the current programming is compatible with all three major streaming formats (Real, Windows Media and Quicktime), Bowling stated that going forward, UMG was interested in selecting only one, citing the expense of encoding for all three formats.

The latest program, "Name That Jam,'' was produced for UMG and eLabs by Los Angeles-based, Trik:Media, using Shockwave technology. It challenges players to name the artist, song, or CD from UMG music clips and offers both one, and two player modes. The game targets the 17-25 age demographic -- known for heavy music consumption --with an animated host, heckling from inside a monitor, and a setup reminiscent of the popular, "You Don't Know Jack" trivia series.

"Universal Music Group is the first major label to focus on the broadband space in a meaningful way,'' said Larry Kenswil, president, eLabs, Universal Music Group. "Unlike some of the fledgling content providers who started from scratch with programming that was not supported by viable business models, our broadband programming is uniquely built around compelling content and artists for which there is already an existing audience and market.''

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