Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Microsoft, Viacom announce partnership

Viacom Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced a five-year, $500-million strategic partnership under which Viacom will supply Microsoft with movies, videos and games, and Microsoft will sell advertising for Viacom's Internet sites.

Under the deal, which the companies announced in a joint press release today, Microsoft will license, on a nonexclusive basis, entertainment content from Viacom's MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures movie studios and BET Networks, for use on its MSN website and on its Xbox 360 game system.

Microsoft also will buy advertising on Viacom sites, and the companies will collaborate on promotions and sponsorships for award shows on MTV Networks and BET Networks, they said.

The agreement makes Microsoft the exclusive seller of remnant display advertising - or unsold ad inventory - on Viacom's U.S. websites. Microsoft's Atlas division will become the ad server for Viacom's domestic websites as well, the companies said.

"This landmark alliance brings valuable promotional power and increased monetization to our wide portfolio of branded websites, which collectively represent the leading entertainment presence online," Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman said in a statement. He added, "Microsoft's superior assets and expertise in the ad serving and sales business will drive enhanced value to our digital operations."

Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's Platforms and Services division, said: "Viacom's portfolio of original content and strong consumer brand connections are a terrific complement to Microsoft's Web, gaming and digital advertising assets. This deal is another milestone in our quest to build a world-class advertising platform to serve the broad needs of advertisers and publishers. If ever there was a 'win-win' partnership across two companies, this is it."

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