AOL to beam ‘Big’ Webcast

O'seas hit TV show spawns site exclusive to members

Five nights a week during primetime is one thing, but CBS and Endemol Entertainment hope to attract more viewers when the Internet counterpart for summer reality skein “Big Brother” bows as a 24-hour-a-day Webcast.

Powerhouse America Online has retained exclusive Internet rights to air live video footage recorded by four Webcams on the set of the show’s wired house beginning July 6.

Wall-to-wall coverage

Series records the daily activities of 10 strangers inside a house outfitted with 28 cameras and 60 microphones for 100 days.

Those who don’t subscribe to AOL will be able to view the additional footage at http://www.bigbrother2000.com and access details on the contestants, chats and viewer polling related to the series.

However, AOL will offer exclusive “Big Brother” content to its members, including additional video feeds and live chats with cast members after they’ve left the Big Brother house.

Subscriber drive

CBS and AOL will cross-promote their properties. Move is seen as a way for AOL to up its subscriber base of 22 million, should show prove a hit.

Last year’s bow of the show in the Netherlands generated a total of 52 million page views. Site for the series’ German edition, currently airing, has generated more than 180 million hits.

“We look forward to working with CBS to offer AOL members and Internet users front-row seats to the Webcast of the ‘Big Brother’ series,” said Joe Redling, AOL’s senior veep of brand marketing. “We are constantly seeking ways to enhance the online experience for our members, and this agreement enables us to offer exclusive content from a unique show.”

The William Morris Agency’s Lewis Henderson and Mark Itkin helped ink the deal between CBS and AOL, as did the law firm of Hanson, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Hertz and Goldberg.

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