MTV Networks is in conversations with a number of online distribution partners to expand the reach of its programming online, the company said during a panel at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.
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MTV already has distribution deals with sites including MSN, Fancast, AOL, Joost and Imeem to help it reach new audiences who want to watch MTV programming and clips online, explained David Gale, executive VP of new media. He was speaking at a panel on the topic of “Collabotition,” looking at whether companies can work with their competitors.
A natural next step would be to strike a distribution deal with a social network such as MySpace.com, which is one of many online portals with which MTV is having conversations, Mr. Gale said. Those types of deals are increasingly important as audiences grow more fragmented, but they are challenging to execute because social networks that target younger demographics are competitors for that audience’s precious time.
At the end of the day, deals will only get done if the dollars and cents add up, Mr. Gale said. “It has to be a bigger pie for both. Maybe not this year, but maybe in a few years. We have to look at how we all make more money by working together,” he said.
Collaboration is no longer a choice; it’s a necessity, added Niko Chauls, managing editor of MSN Video during the panel. But in order for companies to work together, the digital media world needs more standards so videos can work easily across different sites and services, he said. “At MSN we are a media company that sits within a software company and being more open and more collaborative is a necessity,” he said.