Viacom Inc. (VIAB:US) will distribute music videos and television shows from its MTV Networks and Nickelodeon children's network to Chinese customers on Baidu.com Inc.'s Web site, MTV said in a statement today.
Baidu has set up an MTV area on its Web site where customers can go to download licensed music videos and MTV and Nickelodeon programs, according to New York-based Viacom's statement distributed before a press briefing in Beijing.
This agreement is ``a key milestone in our digital media position in China and advances our long-term commitment to expanding our brands and local content,'' MTV Vice Chairman Bill Roedy said in the statement.
Viacom hopes a partnership with Baidu, which runs China's most-used Internet search engine, will give it an advantage over competitors like News Corp. (NWSA:US) and Walt Disney Co. as they expand in China. The number of broadband Internet users in the world's most populous country and fastest-growing major economy expanded to 45.1 million in the first half of this year.
Music videos will be sold for per-download charges, and television programming downloads will be financed with advertisements by companies including Motorola Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co., MTV China's Managing Director Li Yifei said at the press briefing. She said the company hasn't decided how much the per-download charge would be.
MTV China broadcasts around the clock on a station in southern China's Pearl River Delta region, and Nickelodeon produces children's content through a venture with Shanghai Media Group. State broadcaster China Central Television also airs Nickelodeon shows including SpongeBob SquarePants.
The number of households reached by MTV's southern regional channel has grown 30 percent in the last 18 months to 13.1 million, Roedy said. Viewership of MTV's syndicated material on other channels in China has grown 30 percent to 175 million households in the same period, he said.
MTV also offers subscription-based video download services through China Mobile Ltd. (941) and China Unicom Ltd., the country's two largest mobile-phone operators, Roedy said.
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