MTV Nearing Deal to License Vevo Videos

7:00 AM PST 12/04/2011 by Andrew Hampp, Billboard

A partnership could mean a truce in the ongoing battle to control and monetize the lucrative music-video viewing audience online.

Vevo and MTV are in talks for a deal that would allow MTV to license Vevo's videos for its own properties an MTV spokesperson confirmed to Billboard.biz. The deal, as first reported by CNET, would be a truce of sorts in the ongoing battle between Vevo, MTV and the record labels to control and monetize the most share of the lucrative music-video viewing audience online.

Vevo launched in December 2009 as a joint venture between Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Abu Dhabi Media, with EMI later coming on board to license its library without an ownership stake. In June 2010, MTV signed Warner Music Group for an exclusive deal to distribute and sell ads against Warner's music video library. A Vevo licensing deal could give MTV the ability to sell ads against videos from all four majors as well as close the gap in web traffic. Vevo currently ranks as the No. 1 channel on YouTube and the No. 3 video site online in terms of unique visitors with 56.99 million, according to Comscore's October 2011 U.S. video rankings. MTV.com anchors the suite of Viacom Digital sites that ranked at No. 5 during the same period with 48.1 million unique visitors.

Vevo, for its part, has been particularly aggressive in its ad-sales efforts, recently pitching its music-video premieres to advertisers as worthy alternatives to cable TV shows in terms of audience. A recent report cites that music videos from artists like Katy Perry can reach as many as 4.5 million viewers within five days of their premiere, and brands like Ubisoft, Chevrolet, HTC and Target have been signing up to sponsor artist-specific video flights.

A Vevo spokeswoman declined to comment on the deal.

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