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Universal Music Group Launches Broadband Programming

At the beginning of this month, Universal Music Group released Bluematter, a secure downloadable format, and today the company continued its efforts to capture an online audience by announcing the launch of its initial series of broadband programs. The original, music-oriented programming can be accessed through UMG's eLab broadband portal at www.musicuwant.com (http://www.musicuwant.com).

"This is the first major broadband programming initiative from any music company," said Larry Kenswil, President, Universal Music Group's eLabs. Elabs is a division of Universal Music Group that concentrates on comprehensive marketing and consumer research specific to online business. The release of this programming was timed to coincide with the return of kids to college campuses and was fueled by a recent Nielson/Netratings report indicating that there are now a little over 6.8 million broadband homes in America.

With the new broadband programming initiative, UMG intends to explore multiple business models that include content syndication, licensing and distribution relationships, and sponsorships. The program is slated to run for four months. After this time, UMG intends to analyze the data and determine their future course of action.

UMG will introduce three "pilots," with subsequent rollouts of additional original programming in the coming months. The pilots include one channel that plays genre-specific videos and offers the option of purchasing the CD of the featured artist. The other two channels feature Music Spoof-o-mercials, animated infomercial-style commercials for UMG artists, and mini-documentaries.

It won't be hard to find UMG's broadband programming, as the company has acquired placement on the three major players. UMG's programming will also be listed on the portals of high-speed access providers including Winfire, Sprint, and Excite@Home.

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