Major distribs pact to stream videos online

EMI not yet in the mix

Three of the four major music distributors have struck alliances with Web operations to make available their catalogs of videos for online streaming.

Sony BMG has inked ad-supported revenue-sharing agreement with Google Video and YouTube. Warner Music Group has inked a similar deal with Google and Universal Music Group has signed a pact with YouTube.

The one company not in the mix, EMI, is in negotiations with YouTube and Google.

In addition, CBS has signed a deal with YouTube to offer short-form video programming from its news, sports and entertainment divisions on a daily basis beginning this month. YouTube and CBS will share revenue from advertising sponsorships of CBS Videos.

In the coming months, users will also be able to access content from Warner Music and Sony BMG artists through Google’s partner Web sites in its AdSense network. Besides musicvideos, the music companies will offer artist interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and other artist-related content.

In all of the deals users will be able create videos using certain content from the music companies. Google is developing technology to allow that use, saying it is a couple of months away.

“You want to license everything,” said one major label exec. “You make sure evberybody has everything. There’s no real strategic marketing (with video). You want tomake sure that extra check is coming.”

The music companies see the video distribution model as an opportunity to monetize video content while respecting copyrights.

“We are transforming Warner Music from a traditional ‘songs-and-records’ company into one that delivers rich music-based content on multiple platforms, in a variety of ways, said Alex Zubillaga, Warner Music Group’s executive VP, Digital Strategy and Business Development. Warner music struck the first deal of this type three weeks ago with YouTube.

Thomas Hesse, president of Sony BMG’s Global Digital Business, noted “We see this agreement as an important part of our overall strategy to innovate, find new ways for our artists to connect with their fans, and develop new revenue streams.”

YouTube and UMG have agreed to a process to protect UMG copyrights using technology to filter out UMG content that is not authorized to appear on the YouTube service. UMG and its artists will be compensated not just for UMG produced videos but also for the unique, user-created content that incorporates UMG music.

“By allowing the use of their content in user-generated videos,” Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder of YouTube, said, UMG and Sony BMG are “embracing the creative spirit of our users and music lovers around the world while protecting the rights of their artists.”

Sony BMG also noted it would work with YouTube to expeditiously remove copyrighted materials not authorized for the site.

In the Google Video deal, Web publishers will allow other sites to display videos from Sony BMG and Warner Music including fan sites. Each time a user is interested in the accompanying ad and clicks on the video, the Web publisher, Sony BMG and Google accrue revenue.

WMG’s musicvideos will immediately be available for purchase as downloads on Google Video for $1.99.

CBS becomes the first network to allow programming to be used on YouTube. It plans to offer short clips and previews from “Survivor,” “CSI,” and “The Late Show with Dave Letterman,” short videos from “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” “The Early Show” and “60 Minutes” and CBS Sports highlights. Showtime will offer promotional video clips from “Dexter,” “Brotherhood” “Sleeper Cell” and “The L Word.”

CBS will also provide video content from CSTV allowing students at hundreds of universities to upload their own content from tailgate parties, pep rallies and other campus events.

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