Microsoft inks exclusive deal to stream pilots

Microsoft’s MSN has joined the New York TV Festival as an official sponsor in a deal that gives it exclusive rights to stream entries online.

Fest, which holds its second annual TV pilot competition in September, is a showcase for indie TV designed to vet the most promising pilots and connect those young producers with network execs.

The MSN deal will allow viewers to watch show pilots on the Web and vote on their favorites, with the winner receiving a viewers’ choice award.

“The benefit of the larger audience is that the pilots will get a track record,” said fest founder Terence Gray. “The networks will be able to meet the artists and view the pilots but also look at data for what was viewed the most.”

MSN Video will carry a live Webcast of the festival, which runs Sept. 12-17. MSN Spaces will be the official blogging platform for the fest’s online community.

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