AEG Grabs A Network

Anschutz Entertainment Group has pulled out of its partnership with Network Live, which it helped launch last year with Live 8 executive producer Kevin Wall, XM satellite radio and AOL.

Wall bought out the partners for more than $6 million, according to the Los Angeles Times, and has made another deal with Microsoft, rebranding the company as Control Room.

Network Live made its debut after making a splash delivering Live 8 content to AOL, which proved to be more popular than the piecemeal televised coverage aired on MTV.

Analysts had warned that the business model for delivering online concerts might be challenging, and they were ultimately proved right.

“It’s a little bit like a marriage that didn’t work, but we’ll be great friends leaving,” Wall told the newspaper. “We took the house and they got the dog.”

AEG will instead take the Network Live name and develop its own programming distribution project in-house, according to CEO Randy Phillips.

“Kevin’s got the vision thing down well. As far as the execution part goes, it’s a tough business model,” Phillips told Pollstar. “At some point, it didn’t make sense for XM anymore, so they dropped out. They were out as equity players; they were just a distribution platform.

“AOL, given their current situation, didn’t need to own equity in a third-party company that was delivering programming. What they needed was just the programming.”

Phillips explained it made more sense for AEG to bring the project in-house rather than be “the last man standing” as an equity provider as in the original model. And AEG has plans in the works to roll out its own program very soon.

“In our case, we’ll be announcing soon that we’ve made a deal to purchase an iconic television producer of major note,” Phillips said. “What we’re going to do is fold our entire content division under his guidance and build out the new Network Live staff under his direction.”

– Deborah Speer