MTV spreads online reach with vid pacts

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LAS VEGAS -- Punctuating its presence at CES, Viacom's MTV Networks said Tuesday that it has partnered with five online video sites, including Dailymotion and Veoh.

The agreements -- along with deals with imeem, MeeVee and GoFish and a previously announced partnership with Comcast's Fancast, which launched Tuesday -- are designed to bolster MTVN's online presence. The site already has partnered with Bebo and Joost, and last month it announced deals with Microsoft's MSN and Time Warner's AOL.

The deals will bring ad-supported content from VH1, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Spike and other MTVN channels and Web sites to the platforms.

"There are a couple different ways to syndicate content," said Greg Clayman, executive vp digital distribution and business development at MTVN. "We've been working on this middle ground where we focus on a handful of partners."

Clayman said the company doesn't want to be completely closed in terms of its content, nor does it want to give it out to "everybody under the sun." The goal, he said, is to find partners that will complement the company and respect its copyrights.

MTVN started on this path last year as its parent company sued Google's YouTube for $1 billion for copyright infringement and threw its support behind Web TV application Joost.

Tuesday's announcement is a furthering of this strategy. France-based Daily Motion and Veoh, which is backed by former Viacom CEO Tom Freston and Michael Eisner's Tornante Co., were among the media conglomerates and Web video platforms that late last year released a set of standards aiming to protect copyrighted work from being pirated on the Web.

Viacom has an equity stake in online video site GoFish, as was revealed in an SEC filing last month. Meevee is an online video guide, and imeem is a music-focused social network.

Courtney Holt, executive vp digital media for MTVN's music group, said that the sites will complement his company's "vertical" online strategy. This idea focuses on building out sites based on shows and subject matter rather than having one centralized location.

"Syndicated content is going to find audiences for these verticals at other networks, and ideally these people will be pulled back for the deeper dive experience," Holt said. "We want a broad reach, but we ultimately want to get a percentage of that audience to have a deep experience with us."

Clayman said the new partners could be used in various ways, including as an avenue for promotion of an MTVN event or show. He noted that each platform has a different audience and that this also will work to his company's advantage. "They all have different ways to access content," Clayman said. "We'll work closely with these guys to optimize the experience on each different site."
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