Less than a month after its launch into the virtual world, General Electric's ( GE) NBC Universal division is set to host another event: a show of the company's intentions of leveraging Second Life to extend its brand.

On Wednesday evening, NBC Universal will open its virtual Peacock Room to the Second Life community for the first of its "Sessions: Live from the Peacock Room" series. Live performances by musicians Robert Randolph of Robert Randolph & The Family Band and Marc Roberge of the band O.A.R. will be streamed into Second Life, the virtual world created by San Francisco-based Linden Lab.

Before the event begins at 8 p.m. EST in the Rockefeller destination, NBC Universal will allow Second Life residents to ice-skate and play hockey on the rink in front of the company's virtual headquarters. NBC will also be giving away virtual T-shirts for avatars to wear, as well as autographed CDs from the performers, which will be shipped to real-world addresses.

The Electric Sheep Company, which specializes in bringing real-world companies into Second Life, is one of the developers of the virtual Rockefeller Center for NBC Universal and continues to help bring events to life in the virtual world.

NBC Universal and The Electric Sheep Company unveiled virtual version of the famous New York destination in late November amid a bevy of grid problems that Linden Lab were unable to solve. Still, the launch persevered with simultaneous tree lightings on a total of 18 NBC-owned virtual private islands. Each simulation featured holiday decorations, gift boxes and falling snow that will remain for Wednesday night's event. In addition to the celebrated holiday tree and famed ice-skating rink, there are replicas of the NBC Rainbow Room neon sign and of the Top of the Rock restaurant.

Because Linden Lab was unable to sell and open enough private islands for NBC Universal's initial debut, the company was forced to rent land from Second Life millionaire and land baroness Anshe Chung. Nearly one month later, those islands seem to have been returned, as NBC's total island count currently stands at 10.

NBC Universal is just one name on an already impressive client list for The Electric Sheep Company. Others include Starwood Hotels' ( HOT) aloft private island, Major League Baseball's Yankee Stadium , Nissan, Sony ( SNE) BMG and Reuters ( RTRSY).

In addition to developing NBC Universal's "Sessions" event, The Electric Sheep Company also teamed with marketing services firm Electric Artists to cultivate a project for iVillage, the female-focused Web site that NBC Universal purchased for $600 million in March. Previously, the two companies had worked together to create the virtual replica of Starwood's aloft hotel, so collaboration between the two is nothing new.

iVillage's Girls' Night Out, a celebration of women connecting to the virtual world, debuted last Thursday on The Electric Sheep Company's Sheep Island in Second Life. The biweekly event offers tours of Second Life destinations of interest to women, as well as communications with notable Second Life female avatars, such as Nephilaine Protagonist, one of Second Life's biggest fashion designers and a virtual female pioneer who was one of the first to make Second Life her full-time profession.
Robert Holden is staff reporter Robert Holmes. He reports often from Second Life.

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