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MTV has struck a partnership with Google in which the internet company will distribute the music video broadcaster’s video programming to a series of niche websites and blogs.
Some of the content the company will make available includes video clips from MTV’s Laguna Beach reality programme and its popular video music awards show as well as the Nickelodeon cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants. The two companies plan to share revenue from advertising sold alongside the video.
The deal underlines the popularity of internet video as high-speed broadband connections make it easier for audiences to download television programmes, “webisodes” and other content.
It also represents a strategic shift for MTV Networks. The company’s internet efforts had been focused on its own branded broadband sites, such as MTV Overdrive, launched last July. The arrangement with Google marks the first time that it will cede some control over its content by making it available to other websites and blogs.
As part of the deal, MTV Networks will also sell episodes of its programmes through Google’s video store. It has similar agreements with AOL and Apple’s iTunes.
As MTV celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, analysts and investors have begun to question its prospects. The cable advertising sales that propelled the business have begun to slow after years of double-digit growth. At the same time, a brand that has been synonymous with youth culture is struggling to remain relevant in an internet era that has spawned new stars.
MySpace, the social networking site acquired last year by News Corp, has gone on to gain more than 80m registered users. Meanwhile, YouTube and other community sites have become popular by allowing users to post video on the web.
MTV Networks is hoping that the deal will allow it to reach more young consumers, who may be spending time on niche sites and blogs affiliated with Google, and build greater awareness for its content. The company, along with Google, is also hoping to cash in on the surge in internet advertising.
Judy McGrath, chief executive of MTV Networks, said: “Our brands are great navigation tools for our audiences, and this deal with Google will enable us to follow and lead them to new places.”
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