MTV Hooks Up with Google to Push Video to Affiliates

Google hasn’t exactly blown away the competition with its video site, but its extensive network of AdSense affiliates has contributed to the firm’s dominance in the advertising world. Through a new deal with Viacom’s MTV Networks, Google will pair its video distribution technology with its affiliate network model to test an ad-supported video network offering. The companies have also agreed to sell full-length Viacom shows through Google Video.

Google’s huge affiliate network was the main draw for MTV Networks (MTVN) in choosing to work with the search giant, explained Mark Jafar, director of corporate communications at MTVN.

To start, the initiative will launch with short clips from three MTVN shows, reportedly on only about 200 sites with a minimum of 100,000 viewers per month. Video clips from Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” and MTV’s “Laguna Beach: The Real OC” will be featured along with promotional clips from this year’s upcoming MTV Video Music Awards and highlights from previous award shows. The video offering is set to launch mid-August, according to Jafar.

MTVN’s primary objective through the effort is to push its content out across the Web to places its audience is likely to be. A secondary goal, commented Jafar, is the promotion of its own video site, MTV Overdrive. Users already have the chance to catch clips of Laguna Beach and MTV’s award show promos on MTVN’s Overdrive video site.

Google aims to set itself apart from the king of the Web video jungle, YouTube, by paying affiliates a portion of advertising revenue from the in-stream ads. Currently, people who post YouTube video to their own sites don’t receive compensation since the video distributor only runs ads on its site.

No charter sponsors have signed on to run ads in the Google-distributed clips yet, according to Jafar. However, he continued, “We’re definitely getting some interest.” MTVN will be responsible for selling ads that will accompany the video content. The firm plans on offering pre-roll spots at first, and also will experiment with other formats during the testing phase.

Not surprisingly, searches on YouTube for SpongeBob and Laguna Beach prompt long lists of actual show clips as well as an array of parodies. MTVN finds it necessary to counteract the fact that lesser quality versions of its content are available on such sites. “That’s been an issue for us — people putting our content on YouTube,” admitted Jafar, who said the MTVN content to be distributed through Google will be in higher resolution than what’s typically found on CGM video sites.

Affiliates in the initial trial period reportedly include music sites, and, and celebrity gossip site Popsugar. Google determined sites it deemed appropriate, according to Jafar, who said test affiliates will include “a broad cross section of sites” that attract audiences and cover topics usually associated with the content MTVN will distribute, such as music, family, entertainment and comedy sites. Both affiliate sites and content offerings will expand as time goes on, Jafar noted. Rather than link to specific video clips, affiliates reportedly will feature a Google video player on their sites that will change clips offered on a regular basis.

Google is not alone in its video distribution aspirations. Firms like Brightcove and Voxant already serve ad-supported video content to Web sites in their networks.

Full-length Viacom shows such as Comedy Central’s “Chappelle’s Show,” MTV’s Beavis & Butthead, MTV2’s “WonderShowzen,” and Nickelodeon’s “The Fairly OddParents,” will also be made available through Google Video for $1.99 each.

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