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Pseudo spins hip-hop TV show on Kazaa

Digital broadcaster Pseudo.com is turning the tables on Hollywood, with plans to release a weekly TV show hosted by rap star Ice-T on Internet file-sharing network Kazaa.

Digital broadcaster Pseudo.com plans to release a weekly TV show hosted by rap star Ice-T on the Internet file-sharing network Kazaa, in attempts to start a new model of advertising-supported television.

Pseudo President Edward Salzano said Thursday that the show--a feature on hip-hop culture called "One Nation"--will be available exclusively to Kazaa's roughly 60 million registered users beginning in the next two weeks. People using Kazaa to trade video, audio and text files will be able to download a new episode of the hour-long show weekly and watch it anytime.

Free to Kazaa users, the show will be supported through advertising in the form of commercials and product placements, Salzano said. Pseudo.com, which is owned by New York-based INTV, has already signed on soft-drink maker Red Bull as a sponsor.

"We believe there's a lot of money that is going to people it shouldn't be going to such as studios, producers and advertising agencies," Salzano said. "But that money should be going directly from the fans to the artist, so we're trying to come up with ways to make it legitimate and affordable to do that."

The move flies in the face of the entertainment industry's long history of fighting file-sharing networks such as Kazaa and former highflier Napster, which are thought of by Hollywood as black markets for Web surfers to trade pirated music and film files. As a result, many major film studios and music labels have filed lawsuits against the networks, which resulted in successfully shutting down Napster.

Still, others are trying to find a way to use peer-to-peer communities for legitimate business and marketing because of the wide reach among media-obsessed audiences. For example, Microsoft partnered last year with film studio Lions Gate to release a trailer for the movie "Rules of Attraction" through Kazaa. Brilliant Digital Entertainment-owned Altnet also has developed a way to package content on Kazaa so that rights holders can receive revenue through the sale of products featured in the content, among other sales opportunities.

"There's a legitimate content market developing on peer-to-peer networks," said Ben Reneker, associate analyst with Kagan World Media, a research firm based in Carmel, Calif.

"Pseudo's idea is a powerful concept because peer-to-peer networks have such lucrative demographics in terms of media consumption," he said. "The question and reason that this may not take off is because the content owners are the most opposed to these networks because they see them as major hemorrhage for revenues."

Still, Pseudo's Salvano said, it's time for the entertainment industry to embrace new forms of distribution.

"The entertainment industry has to get it together and use the technology to their advantage," he said.

"One Nation" will feature the artists, culture and history of hip-hop, with Ice-T as its regular host. Salvano said that it's being filmed with digital cameras and encoded with MPEG-2 technology.

Pseudo.com was launched nearly nine years ago as an Internet chat company and began broadcasting original Web video programming in 1997. In 2001, it went bankrupt after failing to secure new funding. In January 2001, INTV bought the assets of Pseudo Programs for $2 million, including its patented interactive operating system, called Daisy. The system gives multiple producers the ability to publish Web video, chat rooms, polls, e-commerce and advertising on a Web site.