NewFronts: Microsoft Pushes ‘Brand Safe’ Content Into StageDoor Channels

Light slate of announcements includes Xbox partnership with electronic dance music studio OneBeat

MSN StageDoor channel Spark

Microsoft unwrapped a light slate of new content at its Digital Content NewFronts event, with the few highlights including “StageDoor,” an MSN video content destination that aggregates “brand-safe” video content into nine channels, and pact for electronic-dance music content.

StageDoor (a codename) is designed to be a more TV-like experience than what is found today on online portals, according to Microsoft. For example, the Spark channel is focused on clothes, love, health and other femme-targeted topics. Other MSN StageDoor channels include Downtime, aimed at men 18-49, and Wonder, featuring nature and science content.

“With StageDoor, advertisers can involve their brand directly in the story and connect more deeply with their target consumer,” said Scott Ferris, GM of Microsoft’s TV and video advertising business group.

Chrysler Group’s Jeep brand is among first StageDoor ad clients. “Sponsoring the Tuned In channel is enabling us to broadcast our new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee original video series, ‘Reach the Summit,’ and engage more deeply with our most desired target consumers,” Vicki Carlini, head of Jeep brand media, said in a statement.

Microsoft’s Xbox group, meanwhile, is teaming up with OneBeat, a digital studio focused on video programming about electronic dance music culture, to develop an app for the game console to be released next month.

In addition, Microsoft said it ordered second season of “The LeBrons,” animated series featuring NBA star LeBron James. Skein available on May 10 exclusively on Microsoft platforms, including Xbox Live and MSN Video Hub. It’s co-executive produced by James, Maverick Carter and Believe Entertainment Group. Show received more than 50 million views online in frosh season in 2011.

Company also highlighted partnership with Showtime Networks on cabler’s “Years of Living Dangerously” series focused on climate change. Microsoft Advertising will be the exclusive digital partner for the docu-series, with online sponsorship opportunities starting in 2014, and will deliver complementary content across MSN, Xbox and Windows 8. Broadcast series “Years of Living Dangerously” is being produced by James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub, Arnold Schwarzenegger and former “60 Minutes” producers Joel Bach and David Gelber.

Microsoft event, held at nitery Marquee in Chelsea, featured performances by L.A.-based Lucent Dossier, a Cirque du Soleil-style dance group, set to thumping electronica  spun by two deejays.