A-B Goes BOBbing Into Digi-Net

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A cable-industry veteran and his partner have lined up Anheuser-Busch Inc. as
a charter sponsor for a new digi-net that plans to run short films around the
clock.

The proposed network is named Brief Original Broadcasts, or BOB, according to
cofounder Daniel O'Brien, former CEO of High Speed Access Corp. and ex-chief
operating officer of PrimeStar Inc.

BOB, based in Littleton, Colo., is set to debut Jan. 1.

The A-B deal is a multiyear, multimillion-dollar commitment, with the brewer
retaining exclusivity in the alcoholic-beverage category. BOB is looking for
sponsors in other categories.

BOB's programming strategy is to air independently produced short-form
programming -- one- to eight-minute clips, 24 hours a day -- targeting the
attention-deficient 18-through-34 demographic. The short films will cover most
genres including comedy, drama and animation.

BOB's sources for programming will include independent producers, directors
of TV commercials and film schools, said O'Brien, who also headed the Time
Warner Satellite Services unit of PrimeStar at one point in his career. He also
did stints at Time Warner Cable and Jones Intercable Inc.

O'Brien is now pitching his digi-net to cable operators, and he said he is
close to sealing a carriage agreement with a major MSO.

He isn't charging distributors a license fee for BOB, but rather, he plans to
share the ad revenue the network generates with them.

The better the placement the network gets on a cable system -- with the
widest distribution -- the more ad revenue the operator will get, O'Brien
added.

For charter advertiser A-B, BOB will not air traditional 30-second spots.
While O'Brien wouldn't get too specific, he said the beer brewer's ads will be
more along the lines of 'advertainment,' looking more like programming than
traditional commercials.

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