Burnett, MSN Share Details of ‘INXS Rock Star’ Plans

Microsoft’s MSN revealed details of its recently minted partnership with Mark Burnett Productions on “INXS Rock Star,” first reported by ClickZ News last month.

MSN will host the official “Rock Star” site, and will present content and online tools from MSN Entertainment, MSN Video, MSN Music, MSN Spaces, MSN Messenger, MSN Alerts and MSN Shopping. The structure echoes the integration of “The Apprentice” and “The Contender” content on Yahoo’s IM, Shopping, Search and Small Business services.

MSN said it has just begun selling its exclusive “Rock Star” ad inventory to advertisers. The company will offer :15 and :30 spots against the short-form video clips, and both video and banner content will be sold on a run-of-site or content-matched basis. By contrast, Yahoo has largely focused on selling its “Apprentice” inventory on a sponsorship model.

A cornerstone of Yahoo’s integration with “Apprentice” has been the online support it offers for many of the product placement marketing deals that take place in the show. It would appear a show like “Rock Star” offers fewer opportunities for product placement, but MSN Lead Product Manager Christine Andrews said the companies are in joint talks with potential advertisers on a variety of deals, including product placement.

“We are talking to a lot of companies jointly, so somebody who might want to advertise on the show can get their brand on MSN. We have nothing further to announce,” she said.

Production for the show is well underway, so it’s likely any product placement deals have been finalized. However, there’s still time for MSN to work up its own portal placements on the fly to mirror those on the show, as Yahoo did.

It’s perhaps with good reason that Burnett chose to duplicate the elaborate intermixture of TV and Web content it pulled off with Yahoo That deal has been much ballyhooed by the portal, and has been closely viewed as a case study in cross-media success.

The specific nature of the content integration across MSN’s various horizontal services has yet to be determined. Andrews said contestants may each have their own MSN Space, where they could post a music playlist, photos and thoughts on how the show is going.

“There will be multiple touch points across the site. We’re working closely with the Mark Burnett team to unearth every [integration] opportunity,” she said.

‘INXS Rock Star’ will air on CBS. MSN will have a site up by mid-June, and by the July 11 show premier it will roll out deeper content and integration on its other services.

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