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Yahoo to sign deal for 33 Viacom websites

Yahoo to sign deal for 33 Viacom websites

Yahoo will be the exclusive provider of search and contextual advertising on Viacom's 33 broadband websites, in a deal unveiled yesterday.

The two sides did not disclose financial details of the multi-year agreement, which encompasses such sites as MTV.com, Nickelodeon.com and comedycentral.com.

The deal offers consolation to Yahoo after it lost out to Google last year on contracts to provide search for two of the Internet's most trafficked websites: News Corp's MySpace and Time Warner's AOL.

Although smaller, Viacom says its sites together comprise the 11th most popular destination on the Internet, with more than 90m viewers in February.

It also adds another wrinkle to Viacom's feud with Google. Last year, the companies appeared to be joining forces after they agreed to a limited venture in which Viacom would distribute some of its video clips through websites affiliated to Google's AdSense advertising network.

But the relationship turned icy this year in regard to copyright concerns. Viacom last month launched a lawsuit accusing Google of allowing thousands of its video clips to be posted on its YouTube site without permission and demanding more than $1bn in damages.

The suit was seen as a flashpoint in the tense relationship between old and new media companies as they try to strike deals to distribute film, television programmes and other video content on the internet. NBC Universal and Fox, also unhappy with Google, have announced plans to launch a video website as an alternative to YouTube.

Terry Semel, Yahoo's chief executive, alluded to tensions with Google in a statement yesterday, sayinghis company shared Viacom's commitment "to connecting users to the content, products and services for which they are looking while respecting copyrights and intellectual property rights".

Yahoo's new Panamasearch system has garnered good reviews.


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