Kevin Wall acquires company, renaming it Control Room.
AOL, XM Satellite Radio and AEG have ended their Network Live joint venture with Live 8 mastermind Kevin Wall.
Wall has acquired full control of the year-old company and has renamed it Control Room. Its programming will now be exclusively distributed through Microsoft's MSN as of Oct. 2. Financial terms were not disclosed for either deal.
AOL, XM and AEG spent about $15 million collectively to capitalize Network Live, sources said at the time of the launch of the joint venture in July 2005.
As part of the multi-year agreement with MSN, Microsoft may stream Control Room shows to Xbox 360 Live, MSN Messenger, Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center Edition and other platforms.
MSN claims nearly 465 million worldwide monthly visitors. The first performance under the pact will be a John Legend show live from London's Royal Albert Hall in October. Network Live -- which was created amid much fanfare in the wake of Live 8, and meant to capitalize on exploding demand for live music content online and via satellite and TV -- created and distributed more than 59 shows in the past year.
However, sources familiar with the situation said the joint venture wasn't working in a way that made strategic or economic sense for the parties involved. The partner companies at times found themselves competing against Network Live for access to artists, according to sources.
What's more, the shows often were not justifying the cost of production relative to the number of viewers and listeners they were attracting -- especially with emerging acts, a leading source of programming. Sources say the baby band shows weren't drawing audiences that transcended their respective fanbases.
"Its tricky," says one source familiar with the situation. "Anyone can book the Rolling Stones and get them to tune in. The harder part is finding an audience for the next Arcade Fire."