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AOL, Microsoft lure advertisers with TV-style shows


By Jennifer Saba and Lisa Richwine NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Technology powerhouses like Microsoft Corp and AOL Inc are flexing their muscles as storytellers, parading TV network-style shows before advertisers at an annual digital content showcase in New York next week. With an eye on the big bucks such shows can command, Microsoft will trot out a soccer reality show called Every Street United. Sony Corps digital network Crackle will serve up Jerry Seinfelds Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and AOL is presenting a documentary drama about five New Yorkers called Connected. This is a big shift from the short Web episodes many tech companies have presented for the last two years at the week-long NewFronts event – modeled after the annual upfronts where broadcast and cable TV channels show their wares to Madison Avenue. Yahoo Inc is also looking for longer original programming it can unveil at the showcase, three people familiar with those efforts said on condition on of anonymity because the deals have yet to be finalized.

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