MTV Networks, AOL Sign Online-Syndication Deal

MTV Networks and AOL Video signed a Web-syndication deal that will provide AOL’s video portal with short-form content from all of MTVN’s networks.

“By delivering a vast library of clips from our hit shows through AOL Video, we’re increasing engagement with our brands across the digital space, creating additional online-ad inventory and closing the loop by driving audiences back to our popular linear channels,” said Mika Salmi, president of global digital media for MTVN, in a statement.

Clips from networks such as Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central and shows such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Hills and I Love New York will be available later this week on the video portal. All told, the deal will cover 11 of MTVN’s channels, both cable and digital, and more than 30 different programs at launch.

The deal marks a dramatic policy change from Viacom, MTVN’s parent company. Viacom sued Google-owned YouTube earlier this year for $1 billion over copyrighted material that was posted on the video site. The media company has generally tried to keep video clips within their family of sites, building Web-video platforms such as Comedy Central’s MotherLoad and MTV’s Overdrive.

One notable exception was when Daily Show correspondent Rob Riggle traveled to Iraq earlier this year. Clips from his trip, dubbed “Operation Silent Thunder,” were made available on Yahoo.

The deal greatly expands AOL’s video portal, which has the largest collection of (authorized) network programming online. AOL’s portal currently has syndication deals with Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC and cable channels such as A&E Television Networks, Showtime and NBC Universal’s cable channels.

The new deal is not likely to be well-received by the company’s free-lancers, who have staged walkouts this week over cuts in health benefits and the discontinuation of company savings plans. Many of the free-lancers work more than 40 hours per week and have their own desks at the company.