Warner's Latest Strategy Gives MTV New Clout in Online Video

MTV Gets Ad Sales Rights for Warner Music Videos All Over the Web

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LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- MTV Networks may have given up on music videos as prime-time TV content years ago, but music video on the web is another story. The company has formed a new partnership with Warner Music Group that will give MTV Networks exclusive ad sales rights to the Warner music video roster of artists like Madonna, Green Day, Kid Rock, B.o.B., Metallica and others on MTV sites plus outside sites such as YouTube and the artists' own web pages.

Metallica Credit: Warner Bros. Records
Warner remains the only major music group not involved in Vevo, the joint venture between Universal Music Group, Sony and EMI that immediately became a top 10 video site at launch last year. Last October Warner announced an ad-sales pact with video company Outrigger, helmed by Veoh veteran Mike Henry. Outrigger will be phased out of ad sales duties for Warner in the coming months.

Having control over Warner's catalog is an opportunity for MTV to gain some share in the increasingly competitive music-video landscape on the web. Vevo has rapidly emerged as a major player in web video, ranking fourth in overall video sites with 432.6 million video views in May (1.3% of all videos viewed during that month) and No. 3 in unique viewers (45.5 million, more than Hulu's 43.5 million), according to ComScore.

MTV's music portfolio on the web -- which includes MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo sites -- were Comscore's third highest-ranked group of music sites during the month of May, delivering 28.4 million unique viewers during the time period, a 68% increase from the year prior. Van Toffler, president of the MTV Music Group, estimated that Warner receives around 20 million unique viewers a month, which should make MTV an even larger consolidated player in the coming months.

"There's room for all of us," Mr. Toffler told Ad Age of the competitive music-video landscape. "What we do is beyond music videos and beyond an online destination. We're combining multiple platforms across MTV, VH1 and CMT, video games with 'Rock Band' and Harmonix to applications on an online site. This clearly continues and strengthens our presence in music and music videos."

While Warner artists will not get exclusive access to MTVN music programming like VH1's "Storytellers" and "Behind The Music" or MTV's recently relaunched "Unplugged," Mr. Toffler said there will be opportunities for new and developing artists to receive unique exposure through live-streaming concerts or promotions across MTV's digital portfolio.

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