Viacom partners with Google for online content deal

LONDON - Viacom is partnering with Google to provide programming from MTV and Nickelodeon to thousands of internet sites and blogs affiliated with the search engine.

Viacom's exclusive deal with Google marks the first time MTV will syndicate its shows across the internet beyond the company's own websites.
The deal will begin as a test run at the end of the month via the insertion of video into Google's targeted advertising system, AdSense, including content from MTV's hit reality show 'Laguna Beach: The Real O.C.', 'The MTV Video Music Awards', and Nickelodeon's 'SpongeBob SquarePants'.

As part of the arrangement, Google could allow any number of content companies to use the service, splitting ad revenue three-ways - between itself, Viacom and the websites chosen to carry the clips, which will be between two and four minutes long.

Viacom hopes that seeding the clips across hundreds of websites will help in the overall promotion of Viacom programming. Ad spots will also be available within the clips to outside advertisers.

The deal between Google and Viacom is a reaction to the proliferation of broadband technology and its impact on the distribution of video content, and will enhance the offering from Google's Adsense, which currently relies on text and images and will now move to video streaming. Adsense achieved worldwide revenues of $2.7bn last year.

Full-length episodes from Viacom's catalogue will also be made available to download from Google's video store portal for $1.99 each, including Comedy Central's 'South Park' and MTV's 'Jackass'.

In May, MTV launched a rival to Apple's iTunes called Urge, which will use Microsoft's Media Player software to allow music fans to download tracks to their MP3 players or mobile phones.

Urge has more than 2m tracks available from 110,000 artists with 500 playlists and 130 streaming radio stations, compared with iTunes, which has a catalogue of 3m tracks and has sold more than 1bn downloads since its launch three years ago.

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