MTV Buys iFilm

Viacom’s MTV Networks has acquired video and animation site iFilm for $49 million.

The deal will build MTV’s video library of Hollywood studio shorts, amateur films, and user-generated content. The site expands the network’s ad inventory with multiple units including pre-roll insertions.

“With iFilm’s strong business profile and growing traffic, we see significant opportunities for us to increase our online advertising revenue,” said Judy McGrath, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, in a statement.

iFilm head Blair Harrison will continue to run the company and remain based in Hollywood. Harrison will report to MTV Networks SVP of digital music and media, Jason Hirschhorn.

In June, 94 million Internet users in the U.S. streamed video over the Web according to data from comScore Media Metrix. The research firm reported that in September, Viacom had 38.6 million users, MTV Networks Music sites received 11.3 visitors, and 2.6 million visitors went to iFilm. Of iFilm’s 2.6 million visitors, 1.3 million visited at least one of Viacom’s online properties, and 708 thousand of those visitors also went to MTV’s music sites. The combined Viacom Online property including MTV Networks Music and iFilm would have reached 13.2 million U.S. visitors for the month.

MTV Networks continues to build its multi-platform entertainment offerings. The company in April launched broadband content channel Overdrive. More recently, it started-up the college-demographic focused mtvU Uber online. In June, Viacom acquired Neopets.

In the first quarter of the new year, Viacom is expected to spin-off MTV Networks, BET, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, and Famous Music to operate as Viacom, Inc. The remaining properties will take the corporate name, CBS Corporation.

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