Fuse Offers an On-Demand Backstage Pass

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Fuse is adding some spark to its on-demand programming, with original content involving bands featured on the upstart music channel.

In the past two months, the Fuse On Demand content lineup has been infused with videos focusing on behind-the-scenes footage. Available on demand through Comcast Corp., Adelphia Communications Corp. and Cox Communications Inc., the new content reflects the Rainbow Media Holdings subsidiary’s goal to give more context to what appears on its music channel, without simply duplicating what appears there.

Footage of the Chicago-based indie rock band Fall Out Boy, for instance, provided a surprising glimpse into an atypical rock star lifestyle: one who lives with Mom.

Fall Out Boy has gained in popularity largely because of airtime on Fuse, so the band was more than willing to let the music channel follow it around with video cameras off stage, said senior vice president of distribution Joe Glennon.

“Oddly enough, the lead singer lives at home. So it’s actually funny — we are actually filming the guy carrying the groceries in as his mom is kind of nagging him,” he said. “And this is a major rock star. So it is just a lot of fun. It brings the band a little closer to the viewers and gives them something they can’t see anywhere else.”

Other content Fuse has supplied to On Demand includes a 20 questions segment, asking popular music artists questions such as, “If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you want?”

Since adding the exclusive content to the On Demand service in May, Fuse reports seeing a 20% jump in total stream views.

And now the bands are playing in, submitting their own videos along with the on-demand viewing rights. For example, Taking Back Sunday, an Amityville, N.Y.-based hard-core rock band, provided a farcical “making of a video” segment in the spirit of This Is Spinal Tap.

Given Fuse’s youth crowd, one might think the Internet might be a better place to put this on-demand content, since teenagers are heavy Web users. But Fuse isn’t showing its hand there, yet. “We will do things online as well — but it won’t be the same product,” said Glennon.

Such original programming could serve as a foot in the door to teach the entire family about on-demand programming, Jan Diedrichsen, Fuse’s vice president of affiliate marketing, said.

“In the household, [youth and young adults] are always the ones trying out the new technologies. And the nice thing is, when they are through with it, they will teach their parents, and the parents will use the on-demand technology,” he said.

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