MTV Acquires iFilm for $49 Million

Move Bolsters Viacom's New-Media Strategy

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Viacom's MTV Networks has snapped up online movie destination iFilm for $49 million.

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User-generated video
Hollywood-based iFilm, an ad-supported online library of movie clips, video-game trailers and user-generated video that sees 10 million users a month, will remain an independent destination but will share content and resources with MTV's online assets.

IFilm will retain its sales staff and continue to do business with its current ad partners, many of whom are TV and cable networks that air programming promos and trailers on the site.

No plans to change
"We're not acquiring iFilm to change the way its does business," said Jason Hirschhorn, MTV's senior VP-digital music and media. "We want to give it the resources to build it up to a premiere destination and not fiddle with it."

The move is in line with Viacom Co-President and Co-Chief Operating Officer Tom Freston's strategy of using targeted new-media acquisitions to fuel growth at the half of Viacom he leads. The new Viacom Inc.'s three areas of focus, he's told analysts, are cable, digital interactive media and film.

IFilm also gives MTV access to the user-generated content arena. Last month Mr. Freston told analysts Viacom would have liked to acquire social network site Myspace.com, but was outbid by News Corp.

Consumers' own voice
"We've largely been a push company where we create programming and broadcast it to viewers," Mr. Hirschhorn said. "We want to offer users their own voice and publish video and audio, and that's one of the important things signified by iFilm."

Synergies between iFilm and MTV Networks abound. IFilm made a big name for itself by airing the video clip of Comedy Central star Jon Stewart skewering Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala on CNN's Crossfire. Additionally iFilm and MTV both share a target demographic of 12- to 34-year-olds.

"Our audience and the MTV Networks audience have an enormous amount of overlap," said Blair Harrison, CEO of iFilm, "and we have a similar view on life."

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