MTV, Baidu launch music video venture

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PUSAN, South Korea -- MTV Networks and Baidu.com on Tuesday announced a content and advertising alliance in Beijing, creating the first branded advertising-supported area on China's No. 1 Internet search engine.

Beginning immediately, Baidu.com will feature an "MTV Zone" set to include ads from Motorola and Proctor & Gamble, Viacom-owned MTV and Nasdaq-listed Baidu said in a statement.

The MTV Zone on Baidu will offer China's 123 million Internet users 15,000 hours of original video content from MTV International, including "Pimp My Ride" and localized programming such as music videos from four major Chinese music labels.

"This alliance with China's No. 1 Internet search engine is also a key milestone in our digital media position in China and advances our long-term commitment to expanding our brands and local content in China," Bill Roedy, president of MTV Networks International, said in a statement released after a news conference in China's capital.

The announcement comes a week after Google paid $1.65 billion in stock for You Tube, the popular U.S.-based user-generated video content site, upping the stakes in the corporate race to dominate online video delivery worldwide.

MTV and Baidu put no cash value on the deal in their joint-statement.

It remains to be seen how the MTV-Baidu partnership will fare in China's closely regulated media environment, where all content made widely available in any medium is carefully scrutinized by government censors.

Advertising revenue and money earned via paid downloads from the MTV Zone on Baidu will be shared with content owners and artists, offering "opportunities for advertisers to reach the online youth demographic in China," said Robin Li, chairman and CEO of Beijing-based Baidu.

"Spongebob Squarepants" and other children's programming from MTV sister company Nickelodeon also will be available on the site, the two companies said.

In recent months, Beijing has pushed out progressive newspaper editors, banned imported cartoons from primetime television and threatened forced registration of any online video that spoofs other material.

Content will vary in length, ranging up to 30 minutes, and be made available for fast download using Baidu's software, the companies said.
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