Music vids back ABC shows

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NEW YORK -- To help launch its new season, ABC is producing music videos for several of its new and returning shows, including "Ugly Betty," "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy," "Dancing With the Stars" and "Brothers and Sisters."

The videos -- 11 are expected by the end of the season -- will air on ABC.com and in some cases on such other platforms as iTunes, ABC Mobile and the network itself.

After a successful run last season with music videos for "Grey's," "Betty" and "Lost," ABC is relying much more heavily on the marketing tactic -- which also helps promote the artists' songs -- to launch its new season.

"We love the music video format," said Michael Benson, executive vp marketing at ABC Entertainment. "It's become a unique part of our marketing strategy. We are mixing new and old music formats, performances from new and familiar artists and combining them with the storytelling of our television series. All in all, it makes an entertaining, engaging package that can easily be distributed on multiple platforms. This format, in some cases, can work more effectively than a typical 30-second promo."

For the upcoming season of "Betty," ABC produced a music video with Mika, who re-recorded his hit single "Big Girl" with new lyrics. The music video -- which features Mika recording the new version of the song "Betty Girl," footage from his "Big Girl" video and scenes from Season 1 of "Betty" -- will premiere Thursday on ABC.com. The song also will be featured on-air in ABC's promo spots for "Betty," which were created by the Saline Project, producers of music videos for Eminem, Black Eyed Peas and the Hives.

In the case of "Housewives," ABC produced a music video to Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls" that wove clips from all the past seasons of the show together with footage from the upcoming season and shots from Kingston's own music video. It premiered July 27 and is available on ABC.com.

ABC is believed to be the only network using music videos to promote its shows. "Music videos are unique to how we market our shows," Benson said. "I don't know of any other networks that use music and key moments from a television series to give viewers additional original content on multiple platforms in the same way we do. We are approaching our marketing in a way that looks more like content, and the music works to make an emotional connection with the audience. The longer format and entertainment factor creates a more engaging marketing tool and, therefore, is more effective."

Benson said the music videos are a win-win for consumers, mobile distributors, record labels, their artists and ABC. "It's a fun thing that allows people to go out and get content for free," he said. "The mobile distributors and the Apples of the world love these videos because it's free content for them. Record labels love it because it gives their artists exposure in a whole different way, and we love it because it helps market our shows."

Since the music videos are mutually beneficial to ABC and the record labels/artists, the network does not pay licensing fees to use footage from already existing music videos, nor does it pay the artists when they appear in footage shot especially for the ABC videos.

"The record labels will tell you that what we are doing with their music and the music business is a revolutionary new way to market music," Benson said. "It's turning bands like the Fray and Snow Patrol into big names for them."

Last season, ABC produced three music videos for "Grey's" -- for Brandi Carlile's "The Story," the Fray's "How to Save a Life" and Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars." The "Chasing Cars" video made it onto iTunes' top 10 list after it aired during the closing moments of the "Grey's" season finale.

ABC also produced a music video for "Lost" combining footage from the show with Brian McFadden's music video "Demons," and a music video for "Betty" featuring an original song by Jason Mraz.
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