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Google adds MTV clips to ads, targets Apple

iTunes comes under attack

In continuing efforts to expand its online advertising business, Google will distribute ad-supported video content from Viacom's MTV Networks to webites in its extensive advertising network.

The deal is a first for both companies, a Google spokeswoman said today.

It marks the first time that integrated video programming and advertising will be directly available to Google's huge AdSense advertising network, which delivers text and image ads to websites and blogs. It is also the first time music and entertainment video clips from MTV Networks will be available to consumers across the web on an ad-supported basis on sites outside the network's own.

In effect, Google will syndicate Viacom's programming to a much larger segment of the web, allowing the content to reach many more viewers than it would on the company's own sites.

"We will put video clips on our partner sites that contain advertising, offering content providers a new way to make money from the internet," the spokeswoman said.

Sea change

The companies plan to begin testing the new service later this month with a number of programmes, such as Nickelodeon's 'SpongeBob Square Pants' and MTV's 'Laguna Beach'.

The alliance comes amid a sea of change in video content distribution, propelled in part by pervasive broadband connections, which allow users to stream and download content relatively quickly and inexpensively, and by the growing popularity of video-on-the-Web sites such as YouTube.

The partnership could also send a signal to other producers of news and entertainment content that Google, occasionally criticised for using content without appropriate consent, is eager to create a legitimate business model.

In addition to the ad-supported video clip service, Google takes on Apple's iTunes by agreeing to sell popular MTV Networks programmes through its Google Video portal. For $1.99 per episode, consumers can download full-length episodes of comedian Dave Chappelle's 'Chappelle's Show' and of the animation 'South Park'.

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