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12/21/2006
05:58 PM
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Former Rocketboom Host Amanda Congdon Launching New Video Blog

The vlog, called Starring Amanda Congdon, goes live Friday. It will document life in Los Angeles.

Two major sponsors are backing celebrity video blogger Amanda Condon for a new Web-based television show, launching Friday.

Her new show, Starring Amanda Congdon, will document life in Los Angeles. Dove Cream Oil Body Wash, the video chat community Paltalk, and a new Unilever product to launch in February, will sponsor the show on Congdon's Web site and blip.tv, which will also distribute the show to iTunes and MySpace.

Promoters said they believe it is the first time major commercial sponsors have backed an independent Internet show from its launch.

Congdon, former host of the video blog Rocketboom, herself has had quite a few breakthroughs, turning video blogging into profits and recently signing deals with ABC News and HBO.

Dove will promote a contest, hosted at www.dovecreamoil.com, inviting people to create a 30-second advertisement for Dove Cream Oil Body Wash. Condon has set up a wiki, where viewers will collaborate on a script for a commercial, which Congdon will shoot and star in herself. The winning spot, which will air during this year's Academy Awards, and the winners will fly to a private viewing party in Los Angeles.

As part of the Paltalk sponsorship, Amanda will participate in live online video chats for the online chat community host. Congdon and blip.tv are splitting the profits evenly.

At the beginning of 2006, most video blogs were similar to diaries. Now, more and more are more like television shows, scripted and increasingly polished, Dina Kaplan, chief operating officer and co-founder of blip.tv, said.

"In 2007, we're going to see more and people going full-time, creating shows for the Web and having sponsors behind them, leaving jobs in TV and film and creating their own content on the Web," she said.

While sponsors are gaining new audiences and distribution models, video bloggers are gaining freedom, Kaplan said.

"You don't have a boss. No one's telling you how to wear your hear and what style the show should be," she said, adding that success in the industry will depend on individual talents in writing, creating strong content and connecting with audiences. "To some extent it's an art and it's not a science. Sure, it helps that Amanda is great-looking but she also has a wonderful, free personality and is very charismatic. She comes across great on camera and has fun."

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