Controversial video Web site YouTube has signed its first partnership deal with a network, pacting with E! for a contest featuring user-generated content.
E! will recruit content for its “CyberSmack!” segment, which has aired over the last couple of months on “The Soup,” via YouTube. Cabler also will add “CyberSmack!” as a channel on its broadband network the Vine.
“CyberSmack!” features amateur videos that satirize or lampoon pop culture.
YouTube users can upload entries and also watch “CyberSmack!” videos on the site. E!’s broadband channel, meanwhile, will feature finalists’ videos and other footage from the Web that’s not used on-air for “The Soup.”
No money is changing hands: E! gets access to YouTube’s large, young aud, while YouTube gets more premium content for its users. Cabler will put up the $25,000 grand prize.
“This is our first full-fledged partnership as we start to do more programming without disrupting the user-generated content that is so popular,” said Julie Supan, YouTube’s senior director of marketing.
Other networks, including MTV2 and VH1, as well as several movie studios,have partnered less formally with YouTube to distribute clips and promotional shorts.
E! exec VP of marketing and communications Suzanne Kolb said “CyberSmack” marks the channel’s entry into the viral video territory that’s already proved fruitful for other networks. VH1 and Bravo produce original series that showcase clips from the Web, while USA is piloting its own.
“Our take is to highlight videos that are in line with the brand of ‘The Soup’ and the network overall: They skew and spoof pop culture,” Kolb said.