Viacom Seeking to Save Its Rep with . . . Yahoo?
Viacom, staunch opponent of YouTube, has cemented its reputation as “the man” among the free-content generation by opposing the Web favorite. The parent company of everything from MTV and VH1 to Comedy Central and Nickelodeon has a long way to go to catch up online after their attempts at suing the pants off Google.
Almost six months ago, Viacom announced that MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central would have their own branded video channels, and progress continues on that front. Part of the launch for these video channels is Viacom’s own social networking site, Flux. Fortune says Flux was supposed to launch last night, but the site still says it’s “Coming Soon . . .”
Flux will be a social network that integrates many different websites, currently including the Pussycat Dolls’ site, sk8site.com and others. When Flux members visit a participating website, they’ll be able to add content from that site to their profile, including licensed music and videos.
In other words, rather than going to rapper 50 Cent’s MySpace page, you will want to go to his own website or one of the main fan sites devoted to him. And if it’s part of the Flux network, you can bring all your social network capabilities along with you.
“We’re not trying to own a social network, build one, or compete with one,” says MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath. “We’re embracing them all.”
Flux is just one of several tactics Viacom is developing to try to win back the hearts and minds of their core audience. But since they’ve burned their bridges with Google, they’ve also begun partnering with Yahoo.
In April, Viacom announced an ad partnership with Yahoo, but now it appears their relationship has grown. The New York Post reports that Yahoo music has struck a deal with MTV to get its original content onto the other small screen.
Yahoo! Music has entered into a deal to distribute “Nissan Live Sets,” an original online music performance series it produces, through MTV’s high definition channel MHD, The Post has learned.
“Live Sets,” the product of a multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal inked a year ago between Yahoo! and Nissan North America, comprises seven to eight songs from a featured artist, taped in high definition in front of a live studio audience of about 300 fans.
I don’t know if reusing content that’s already become popular on the Internet is the best way to be seen as innovative, but it’s probably a pretty safe bet.