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MTV, Warner Music Group join forces in video

Less than a year after Warner Music signed an ad sales agreement with Outrigger Media, the third-largest label makes a deal with MTV.

Warner Music Group

MTV will soon start to sell ads for music videos owned by Warner Music Group, the companies announced on Wednesday.

MTV will have exclusive rights to Warner Music's video ad inventory, Warner said in a statement. The move comes less than a year since Warner signed a similar agreement with Outrigger Media.

Rumors began circulating last week that Warner Music was shopping for a new means to sell ads. A music industry source said that Warner Music had spoken to music video portal Vevo about the possibility of that service selling Warner's ads.

Following a lengthy contract dispute with YouTube last year, Warner Music negotiated the right to sell its own ads for the music videos it posts to the video-sharing site. But the third-largest music label doesn't have an ad sales team. In October, it turned to Outrigger.

Apparently the Outrigger deal didn't work too well. Outrigger is still under contract with Warner Music but will handle only targeted ad sales while MTV will handle everything else.

Warner Music is the only one of the four major record companies that has declined to join Vevo. Warner represents such artists as Green Day, Chris Brown, and Flo Rida. Managers at the label have appeared resolved to steer a course in music videos that is independent of the other labels.

But the MTV deal doesn't prevent the label from eventually joining Vevo. All of Vevo's label deals are nonexclusive.

The big winner in all this might be the Viacom-owned MTV. "As part of the deal, WMG's video views will now be counted as part of MTV Music Group's," the companies said in a statement.

Still, when it comes to reaching the largest audience, Warner may have gone with second best. When comparing unique users and video views, Vevo outpaced Viacom digital properties in both categories for the month of May, according to ComScore.