Viacom, Microsoft Join Forces

As its MTV Games unit gets set to make video games with movie mogul Jerry Bruckheimer, Viacom Inc. has announced a $500 million strategic alliance with Microsoft Corp. The partnership will see major divisions of both companies collaborate on content distribution, games, event promotions and advertising over the next several years.

Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman remarks, ‘We are very impressed with how closely Microsoft’s business plans complement our strategic objectives. This is a novel and comprehensive partnership that demonstrates the scale of our digital operation and the value of our branded content across all distribution platforms.”

Microsoft will license, on a non-exclusive basis, long- and short-form television and theatrical content from across Viacom’s cable network and motion picture businesses for use on MSN, Xbox 360 Microsoft and other Microsoft outlets. Content will come from MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Paramount Pictures, and is likely to include animated properties such as Comedy Central’s South Park and Lil’ Bush.

Viacom will work with Microsoft on opportunities to become a preferred publishing partner across Microsoft’s casual gaming platforms. In addition, Microsoft’s Atlas division will become the ad server for Viacom’s U.S. websites, holding exclusive right to sell remnant display advertising inventory on the online destinations. The deal also calls for Microsoft to buy advertising on Viacom broadcast and online networks over a five-year period.