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"Big Brother 3" streams for a fee

Wed, 07/10/2002 - 8:00pm
Susan Rush

Big Brother is watching, are you? The CBS reality television series "Big Brother" returned to American TV last night for its third installment. Network officials have again teamed with RealNetworks Inc. in hopes of generating some extra cash — streaming live video and audio of the 12 houseguests, for a price.

The streaming broadcast made its premiere last night following the east coast television broadcast of the show. Those that want to hang with the cast live via the Internet will have to pay a one-time fee of $24.95 for the three-month run of the show. A paid subscription will give fans access to a 24/7 live streaming Webcast feed, plus a live 24/7 chat room, popularity polls, opinion polls, a virtual tour of the Big Brother house, challenge descriptions, photo galleries, voting history pages and HouseGuest bios. A "Big Brother Fantasy League" also has been set up to enable fans to pick any four HouseGuests and then watch them rack up points for winning competitions, crying, fighting and more.

For $9.95 a month, users can subscribe to RealNetworks' RealOne SuperPass, which will not only give them access to streams from "Big Brother 3," but to other RealNetworks' programming, content, games and software downloads. Subscribers will use the RealOne Player to access the streams.

The deal marks the second season CBS and Real Networks have hooked up for "Big Brother." "Last year's launch of this innovative video streaming package surpassed our wildest expectations when more than 50,000 viewers subscribed to the streams. The streaming media software provider is hoping the "Big Brother 3" deal will generate additional interest in its subscription-based service, which has 700,000 subscribers.

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