Global Citizen Festival Aims to be 'Largest Syndicated Charity Broadcast'
Global Citizen Festival Aims to be 'Largest Syndicated Charity Broadcast'

With this weekend's Global Citizen Festival, AEG Digital Media (AEGDM) and AEG Network Live will attempt to go where no other digitally syndicated charity music festival has gone before.

AEGDM head of business development Chris Roach believes the free concert, to be held Sept. 29 at Central Park in New York, will be the "largest syndicated charity broadcast in history."

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Featuring performances by the Foo Fighters, the Black Keys, Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Band of Horses and K'Naa, the festival for the Global Poverty Project bills itself as a "mass movement to end extreme poverty." Goldenvoice booked the talent lineup and the event is being produced by AEG Network Live. Approximately 60,0000 festival-goers will be in attendance.

Perhaps the biggest undertaking is that Global Citizen Festival will be streamed live simultaneously on Vevo, YouTube, AOL/Huffington Post, Yahoo, VH1.com and NYTimes.com. AXS TV Palladia, Globo Brazil and Fuse will carry the concert live on television.

"From that standpoint alone, coordinating the feeds to those different portals is really where the magic of this starts," Roach tells Billboard.biz. "AEG Digital Media is pulling the feeds directly up satellites to our facility in Marina del Rey (Calif.), and then digitizing them to go to the web, iOS, Xbox and linear television."

The broadcast airs live on Sept. 29 at 4 p.m. EDT.

To Roach's knowledge, nothing of this magnitude has ever attempted.

"As far as the undertaking of this much syndication and replicating the same experience across all these different major portals, we don't believe it's ever been done in history," he says.

Roach notes, however, that AEG Digital Media has live-streamed such music festivals as Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.

Another aim of Global Citizen Festival's digital experience, Roach says, is to help people watching the live feed at home feel like they're in attendance at the show. He hopes this will be accomplished by utilizing AEG Digital Media's Live Experience Platform. The software application allows people watching the festival at home to post photos of themselves on Instagram, which are later aggregated by AEGDM staff and posted to videos screens inside Central Park.

"We're enabling multiple levels of interactivity, where the online audience can collaborate with each other and socialize directly with the festival-goers on site," Roach says. "The goal is to get them to engage with the video and become a part of the experience and movement."

The Live Experience Platform features also include trivia, text messaging, audience polling, postings and aggregated news feeds of Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Global Citizen Festival broadcast sponsors include Australian technology company Vividas and Max Sound. Other funding for the event was provided by the Pratt Foundation; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; David Leppan and Billionaire.com; Capital for Good; the Sumner Redstone Foundation; and others.

The festival's host committee includes Katie Couric; Jeffrey Sachs; Jack Dorsey; Selena Gomez for U.S. Fund for UNICEF; Sophia Bush for Pencils of Promise; Olivia Wilde for Half the Sky Movement; Katharine McPhee for Malaria No More; and Erin Heatherton.

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