Video advertising dominated discussion at the Online Media, Marketing & Advertising Convention held last week at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel.


In one session Patrick Moorehead, director of R & D; at online agency Avenue A / RazorFish, said advertisers need to forget the traditional wisdom that consumers will watch ads in exchange for free access to content; in the online space, ads should become the content and contribute to the user experience.


While that represents a 180-degree turn from the traditional ad-driven TV business model, one local startup company hopes that the TV distribution system of syndication will work online.


"BiggyTV is a multi-channel entertainment network, not a single theme destination portal," said Kyle Borg, co-founder and president of Los Angeles-based BiggyTV. "We have made agreements with several large content owners to syndicate their programming."


Under the syndie system, Web site publishers become affiliates by putting a video screen on their homepage. Just like their TV counterparts, the online affiliates share in the advertising revenues of the Biggy network.


Also, just as TV viewers can't see the network signal feed, Web surfers won't find Biggy-distributed programs at the site (www.BiggyTV.com); instead, they must view the video through affiliate sites.


"This allows BiggyTV to customize programming, present filtered content based upon demographics, control copyrights and gives advertisers the confidence that their ads are running with legal and quality programming," according to the company.


Biggy believes the syndication model will solve the issues of copyright protection, which received new urgency since March 13 when Viacom Inc. filed a $1-billion lawsuit against Google Inc.'s YouTube for copyright infringement. Under the syndication model, Biggy will control all content, even though it will "broadcast" on multiple sites.


Although the company hasn't identified its program suppliers Borg said the announcements would come "in a few weeks" it has some Hollywood names behind it. Borg himself worked for Capitol Records, New World Entertainment and Stephen J. Cannell Productions. Strategic partner Mark Shoolery also owns Shoolery Design, an advertising agency and graphic design shop for movie studios and TV networks.


Since the Web functions without a programming schedule, the organizing principle of TV syndication, Biggy plans to adapt by releasing new programs every Tuesday. The mix will include pranks, stories of the paranormal, travel material, home shopping and Hollywood gossip.


The biggest frustration for attendees at the convention was the technical difficulties of running video with various formats and multiple player-programs, followed of course by the need to monetize vid traffic. If BiggyTV can solve those problems, a lot of Web heads would appreciate it. The syndication site is currently in beta test mode.


'Idol' Airplay

The show "American Idol" has exerted "a massive impact on radio airplay," according to a new study from Mediabase, the Sherman Oaks-based research firm.


The Fox TV program is taped in Los Angeles with host Ryan Seacrest, the popular disc jockey from KIIS-FM (102.7). Since 2002, the show has generated more than 6 million songs on the radio.


The biggest artists to come from the show are Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, winners of the first and fourth seasons, respectively. Clarkson averages 730,000 radio spins per year; Underwood places second with 450,000 spins per year. The two female vocalists account for more than 4 million radio songs between them.


Clarkson has seven of the top 10 songs by "Idol" alums. Three of her tunes have generated more than half a million spins: "Breakaway," "Because of You," and "Since U Been Gone."


Other "Idol" performers who have gone on to broader success include Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry and "Dreamgirls" star Jennifer Hudson, who won the Academy Award for best supporting actress.


"'American Idol' has become a dominant force in radio, particularly in the current driven formats," said Mediabase President Rich Meyer.


Mediabase monitors more than 1,800 radio stations in 180 U.S. and Canadian markets. It provides data for major countdown shows such as "American Top 20 with Casey Kasem" and "Ben & Brian's Big Top 20 Country Countdown."


Staff reporter Joel Russell can be reached at jrussell@labusinessjournal.com, or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 237.

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