June 12, 2007
Yahoo! and Access Hollywood Unite: omg!

As my final note on the blog for today, I wanted to mention an interesting partnership that has been making the news between the infamous gossip syndicated television show Access Hollywood and C3 corporate partner Yahoo!

The plan is to create an online site for gossip connected to a known television property and also to create a rival for TMZ.com, the celebrity gossip site launched by AOL.

The site will be called omg!, trying to rival the "Thirty Mile Zone" abbreviation specific to celebrity culture with the more culturally prevalent "Oh My God."

The move coincides with a reformatting of the Web site of Access Hollywood, which will be relaunching in the fall.

According to Chris Pursell's story in TelevisionWeek, the show's new site "will include a push toward social networking and more interactivity," as well as "a more user-friendly design, much faster load time and several new sponsor opportunities" when it relaunches in October.

This raises an interesting question, as the omg! project does bring into question the relationship the new site will have with the site for the show. Apparently, omg! will receive the majority of its content from Access Hollywood, which will provide a minimum of five stories and videos daily exclusive to omg! There will also be a lot of omg! exclusives from the Access Hollywood Web site.

I first wrote about TMZ last November, a partnership between fellow Time-Warner divisions Warner Brothers and AOL named after the celebrity hunting ground the paparazzi inhabit in Los Angeles.

At the time, I wrote of that initiative:

Now I take exception to the site being described as "a soap opera serialized in real time." I guess they mean that you are watching people's personal lives on display and can follow it in a serial nature, but the paparazzi and Procter & Gamble Productions don't have that much in common that I know of, although P&G are advertisers on the site.

But, while TMZ is not my cup of tea, I think that it touches on the ability of the Web to do something others don't and to prove that synergistic relationships, even as that buzzword has gotten a negative connotation, are the building blocks of convergence and transmedia approaches. The success of this site shows that there is still power in these types of partnerships. The problem is in the thinking that they work irrespective to how they are executed.

Thinking of synergy as a cure-all was a placebo (just as the concept of complex television does not de facto make a great television show), but that doesn't mean we should throw the baby out with the bathwater.

By the way, while Yahoo! is one of our corporate partners, we have not spoken with anyone in the company regarding this new partnership or the new omg! site.