Aiming to nail down a viable business model for user-posted online video, Viacom has paired with Google to enable Web site owners to place ad-supported video clips of its programming on their Websites.
Viacom, Google, and individual site owners will share the ad revenue.
The deal, a test that will begin at the end of the month, will allow Viacom to use Google's infrastructure to distribute its video programming across a variety of new sites. It represents a vote of confidence from the company in Google as it and other major Web portals strive to expand their video offerings.
At the end of the test period with Viacom, Google is aiming to allow any video programmer to use its system to distribute ad-supported video across the Internet. Google, which previously has not posted ad-supported programs on its own Google Video site, says it plans to do so in the future.
The deal looks to provide a legal basis for users who post TV clips on their Websites and blogs. Many users right now post clips by using YouTube, which does not necessarily completely review copyrights, and does not offer such a payment model.
In the Google/Viacom deal, Google will pay Viacom most of the ad revenue, Google executives said.
They did not disclose how much ad-revenue the site hosts will get. Other Websites, such as Revver and Brightcove, have been working to similarly distribute ad-supported video, paying about half of the ad revenue to the content creator and about 20% to the host site. AOL is introducing a similar program soon, also aiming to pay host sites 20 %.
The initial test will offer site hosts the ability to make money from ad revenue from three video options: clips from Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants, clips from MTV's Laguna Beach, and clips from Aug. 31's MTV Video Music Awards. They will change daily and play from a Google video player the user can insert on his site.
Viacom will sell the ads for its video in this deal. On other deals Google executives said they would prefer to sell the ads, through their well-known auction system.
Viacom, in this deal, is mandating that it approve each site that will host its video, and has specified it is looking only for sites that reach at least 100,000 users per month. Initial host sites include Lyrics.com and purevolume.com.
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