MTV, Midway to Develop Games With Ads

Hoping the next hot phrase will be “I want my MTV Games,” youth-oriented media company MTV has formed a new division and struck a partnership with game publisher Midway Games. The two will jointly sell in-game advertising in three titles they develop together.

The deal with Midway, with which MTV shares investor Sumner Redstone, is the first of what MTV expects to be multiple partnerships with game publishers. The new unit handling the alliances, called MTV Games, will incubate original game franchises and help publishers market their games to the MTV audience.

The games and in-game marketing opportunities will be aimed at males ages 16 to 24. MTV ad sales team will sell the inventory, which will include product placement, banners, and signage. Yet undetermined is whether the company’s digital salespeople or its TV team will be primarily responsible for the sales efforts.

“I can see certain advertisers that populate our Web site finding it attractive,” said Tony Calandra, director of MTV interactive products, who will manage the new division. “But, then again, I can see the top advertisers that we have on air thinking that this will be a lucrative opportunity.”

Calandra said the team will look for brands whose products fit well with the settings and themes of the games themselves.

“We want to mix it up where it blends in with the environment,” he told ClickZ News.

Calandra couldn’t elaborate on whether the placements would be static or dynamically served. It’s not yet clear whether advertisers would receive reports on game players interactions with or exposure to their brands.

The first title to come of the Midway partnership is an arcade racing video game called L.A. Rush. It will feature prominent MTV branding and the crew from the hit MTV show, Pimp My Ride. Two more titles will follow.

Jeff Yapp, EVP of MTV Networks and Logo Enterprise Group will head up the MTV Games division. He will report to Rich Eigendorff, COO of MTV Networks Music and Logo Group.

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