CMT News

New Company Creates Companion Websites for Music Videos
Music video director Chris Rogers has established Honest Interactive to link individual music videos with dedicated website content customized for each video. He calls his process "Content Connectivity." Honest Interactive is a freestanding division of Honest Images, the video production company Rogers started in 1996.

Rogers' first video-and-web project is Tracy Bryd's "Love, You Ain't Seen the Last of Me." In the video, which Rogers wrote and directed, Byrd meets three attractive women, each in a different situation. "We leave the audience hanging about which one he'll end up dating," Rogers explains. "The website takes you further into his adventures with these three women. We then encourage the site visitors to vote on which one they think he should end up with."

Video-specific website content will be supported by sponsors who pay to have their message, product, logo or website address "embedded" into the narrative material. Website content related to Byrd's video is sponsored by xoutdoors.com and Professional Bull Riders. Rogers notes that artists may also champion their favorite causes and charities through these websites.

"Honest Interactive can seek out the sponsors," Rogers says, "or [artist] management and label representatives may do it." Money from sponsorships, he continues, can be used to underwrite the costs of the website, the video or both.

The video for "Love, You Ain't Seen the Last of Me" will be released this week, while its related web content will go online in early April at www.tbyrd.com.

In addition to continuing and expanding the video storyline, Rogers says, a website may also feature outtakes from the video shoot, behind-the-scenes information, contests and promotion of the artist's next single.

"The web content can be shot concurrently with the video," Rogers explains, "but it does not have to be." He notes, for example, that if a new artist's first single and music video spark unusual interest, the label can then set up a separate photo shoot to create thematically matching material for online use.

To make the Byrd website material accessible even to Internet viewers with slow modems, Rogers is using only still pictures and text rather than streaming video with sound. "Our target audience right now is the 28K modem AOL user," he says. "We have broadband and streaming capabilities, but we're keeping it simple to build the bases from there."

Rogers will resort to a variety of techniques to inform viewers that a particular music video has a web component. When video programmers permit it, he will simply tag the final scenes of the video with the corresponding web address. Some video outlets will direct viewers to the outlets' own web addresses and then to the companion site. Artist and label sites involved in the process will also carry links.



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