Broadband Video Music Site Operator, Muzu, in Content Deal with Warner Music UK

--Muzu Plans to Target the US Next Year

Warner Music UK announced Thursday that it has formed a partnership with Muzu, a Dublin-based company which operates a music-themed broadband TV Web site. According to the terms of the deal, Warner Music says, Muzu users in the UK and Ireland (and presumably elsewhere, as the service does not appear to be geo-restricted) will be given unlimited, on-demand access to thousands of videos from Warner Music's roster of local and international acts, and the two companies will share revenues generated by advertising on the site and its video player.

Muzu--which also has deals in place with EMI, Sony BMG and Universal--bills its free, ad-supported service as allowing music fans to create, watch and share video playlists from a wide selection of music-themed video content, including music videos, concert coverage, backstage footage, documentaries and interviews. They can also add their own self-created videos to their playlists, interact with other users, and purchase MP3's, concert tickets and merchandise. In addition, registered users can embed their playlists on their social-networking pages.

Muzu and Warner Music UK say that they will work together to drive views, traffic and revenue on the Muzu platform, as well as via syndication to Muzu's publishing partners, which include Bebo, GigWise, and The Mama Group. The deal will also see Warner Music UK adopting Muzu as a promotional platform for events such as video premieres and exclusives, and embedding the Muzu video player into selected artist Web sites and social-networking profiles. "This is great coup for Muzu users, given we are one of the only video services to have deals with all four majors and strong support and representation from the independent sector," Muzu co-founder and director of business development, Ciaran Bollard, said in a prepared statement. "Warner has really embraced Muzu and truly recognizes that a partnership is more than a license and will be working closely with us to co-market and syndicate the artist video content to drive new revenue opportunities." Added Noel Penzer, Warner Music UK's director of business development: "The fact that music videos engage a huge, diverse and passionate online audience, covering a wide range of tastes and behavior, makes a video platform built around music an attractive proposition to artists, labels, fans and brands alike. A highly flexible and easy-to-use site, Muzu is a first-class music experience which puts the relationship between fan and artist at its core. It enables people to interact with music content whilst ensuring that artists and their music companies share in the value created."

In an interview with the Irish Times, Muzu's Bollard stated that the Warner Music UK deal is significant 1) because the latter's content "is not available on YouTube so we are now one of the only sources for videos by artists such as Madonna and Muse"; and 2) because Warner Music UK is "actually working closely with us and will be syndicating our player onto artist pages on Bebo and other Web sites. The deal essentially means that we are essentially the label's preferred video partner," he added. Bollard also told the newspaper that, while "the main focus of the business right now is generating huge traffic from the UK and Ireland and making sure we have profitability on that business," the company "intend[s] to really aggressively go after the US from the start of next year."