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Microsoft Debuts MSN Originals

Microsoft Wednesday launched MSN Originals, a section of its content provider MSN that will be wholly devoted to video programming. In creating Originals, the company is aiming to attract more users to its MSN site and expand advertising opportunities by pairing with established industry names to create web-only video programming heavy on brand integration.

The venture’s first partnerships are with Reveille, the studio behind TV shows such as NBC’s The Office and The Biggest Loser, and Be Jane Inc., a web community devoted to home improvement. Reveille will produce online pilots, which it has the option of later turning into TV programs. Be Jane will produce online video and interactive content relating to home improvement.

All of the shows on MSN Originals will heavily incorporate user interaction and link to features on other MSN sites, such as blogging service MSN Spaces. They will vary in length, rather than following the typical 30 or 60-minute format of linear TV programs.

“The beauty of the Internet as a storytelling medium is you’re not constrained by the typical time blocks of television,” says Rob Bennett, General Manager of Entertainment and Video for MSN. “You can really tell the type of story you want to tell.”

            MSN reaches 465 million users each month, according to Microsoft.