DirecTV gets into rock music scene

DirecTV gets into rock music scene

Deborah Crowe

DirecTV Group Inc. wants to provide its satellite television subscribers another reason not to switch back to cable: a new weekly music program aimed at giving teens their favorite artists and a heads-up on hot new acts.

“CD USA,” patterned after a similarly titled show in the United Kingdom, is scheduled to debut in January and will be available to DirecTV’s 15 million subscribers. Recorded in front of a live audience at Tribune Studios on Sunset Boulevard, the show will feature live performances by artists such as indie veterans Goo Goo Dolls and reggae/dancehall sensation Sean Paul, as well as previews of music videos and entertainment news.

DirecTV’s first original programming series also will promote synergies among two companies controlled by media conglomerate News Corp., which owns a controlling stake in El Segundo-based DirecTV and acquired the Los Angeles-based MySpace.com social networking site this year. “CD USA” will feature up-and-coming artists from MySpace, which earlier this month announced it would create its own record label featuring many of the bands that use the site to promote their music.

“CD USA” will be produced by Blaze Television, which also produces “CD UK” for Britain’s Channel ITV-1. Aerosmith, White Stripes, Black Eyed Peas, Madonna, Shakira, Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson have been among those appearing on that show since it launched in 1998.

Executive Producer Conor McAnally says that both editions of “CD” are less Top 40 countdowns than insider previews of a featured artist’s new release.

The youth-oriented show is a logical extension of the satellite TV service’s exclusive preview concert series, which has featured full-length shows by U2, Elton John and Bon Jovi.

“Of course those audiences skew a bit older, so we’re hoping ‘CD USA’ attracts a younger audience, as well as parents who want to know what their kids are listening to,” said Patty Ishimoto, DirecTV’s senior director for programming acquisition. She noted that 44 percent of DirecTV households have teenagers.

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