From John Battelle’s Search blog tonight.
“Amazon.com Inc. plans to broadcast on its Web site an original show hosted by Bill Maher and featuring performers and authors touting new releases — which, not coincidentally, will be for sale at the online retailer.
The 12-episode Webcast series, which will begin airing June 1, is the first offering in what the Seattle company says is a broader plan to add more original programming to its Web site.
The long-term goal is to help Amazon.com become more of a “destination,” where offerings such as this help people find artists whose works they might not previously have thought of buying.
All of the guests on “Amazon Fishbowl With Bill Maher” will be promoting a new release, such as a book, DVD or CD, and Savitt said the shows will include ways for people to immediately buy the products the performers are touting.
After the launch, the free programs will be available for on-demand viewing anytime, although users cannot download them. .
Besides sales, the company is relying on sponsors such as delivery company UPS Inc. to help pay for the show. UPS ads will accompany the Webcasts.”We’re working with sponsors in a very different way than traditional advertising,” Maher will talk about UPS on the show, Savitt said, adding that the companies will be “an interwoven and an important and authentic part of the show.”