Cloudy again? 24 November 2009

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Published: November 23, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/24/business/media/24adcol.html?ref=technologyJENNIE GARTH of “Beverly Hills 90210” fame has a new series. But don’t look for it on a broadcast network or a cable channel.

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Justin Lubin/NBC

“Garden Party” with Jennie Garth is sponsored by Clorox’s Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressings. NBC Universal Digital Studio is producing the show.

Likewise, Candace Bushnell of “Sex and the City” and “Lipstick Jungle” is back at work in the video realm. But her new show cannot be found on ABC, CBS, Lifetime, Oxygen or TNT.

Those actors and many more are finding new ways to stay in the public eye in the form of Web series, also known as webisodes. Almost all such Web series are being created specifically for advertisers, borrowing a strategy from the early days of radio and television when shows like “The Kraft Music Hall,” “The Bell Telephone Hour,” “Lux Radio Theater” and “Schlitz Playhouse of Stars” entertained Americans while selling cheese, phone service, soap and beer.

Webisodes — part of a trend called branded entertainment — are growing because marketers feel compelled to find new methods to reach consumers in an era when the traditional media are losing eyeballs, ears, hearts, minds and perhaps other body parts to the Internet.

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