Can two of Hollywood's most innovative executives help MSN become a player in advertiser-supported entertainment on the Web? MSN, the Microsoft portal, is betting millions of dollars that the answer is yes, the New York Times reports.


MSN said Tuesday that it had signed an agreement with BermanBraun, a Los Angeles production company founded in March 2007 by Gail Berman, formerly a top executive at Paramount Pictures and Fox Broadcasting, and Lloyd Braun, who previously led divisions of the Walt Disney Company and Yahoo.


BermanBraun will develop and maintain an entertainment-focused Web site , the company calls it a "destination" site , within the MSN portal. The new site, as yet unnamed, is scheduled to make its debut in early 2009. It will blend advertising with entertainment news, games and original video programming.


Essentially, BermanBraun has been hired to help program and sell advertising for a television network , except that this network is a Web site.


Many companies are trying to figure out how to make entertainment for the Web that attracts both a sizable audience and significant advertising commitments via product placements. What makes this effort stand out is the executives involved.

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