MTV Networks' MtvU to acquire online student newspaper network Y2M

MUMBAI: MtvU, MTV's 24-hour college network and a division of Viacom Inc., has announced an agreement to acquire Boston-based Y2M, the parent company of an online advertising network of 450 campus newspaper websites.

Adding Y2M to MtvU and to MTV Networks' overall portfolio is another step in MTVN's strategy to super-serve its audiences with relevant and innovative content, and to be a leader in the digital space.

Following MTVN's recent purchases of XFire, Gametrailers, IFilm and Neopets, this acquisition demonstrates the company's continued commitment to being a premier multi- platform media company across every screen consumers use.

The network reaches over five million college students via 450 online campus papers -- the most powerful local media brand on campus -- which serve as definitive on-campus information hubs, providing local news, sports, weather, event listings and much more.

"This acquisition is in line with our business strategy of moving
forward in the digital space and continually expanding our online portfolio of music, gaming, news and entertainment," MTVN chairman and CEO Judy McGrath says. "Bringing MtvU and Y2M together is another avenue for us to be everywhere our audiences are, deepening our relationship with them and connecting them across every platform and device, all the time."

According to an official release, MtvU and Y2M will together create stronger multi-platform offerings, giving advertisers the most effective and comprehensive methods to connect with college students on-air, online, on the handset, in print and on campus. MtvU's national advertisers will benefit from an increased ability to develop targeted, localized campaigns, and Y2M's advertisers can capitalize on MtvU's industry-leading expertise in emerging media platforms such as broadband video and mobile phones.

Additionally, the combination of Y2M and MtvU will provide editors of student papers in the College Publisher network the ability to easily include rich media and a whole suite of new features on their online sites without impacting the editorial or design independence of each paper's staff. New features that will become available to affiliates include enhanced community functionality, a vast library of emerging music, and the means to create university-specific online networks. MtvU will also offer the student papers access to the network's base of more than 120 top-tier advertisers, enabling new ad sales and revenue sharing opportunities.

"MtvU and Y2M complement each other perfectly -- as the definitive college television and online student paper networks -- and together, these two mediums are powerful connectors to college students across every touch point," MTV president Christina Norman. "We can now provide new, innovative, turn-key methods for our advertisers to reach this powerful demographic and continue to find new ways to super-serve the college market."

"Student publications are the lifeblood of college campuses, and we're looking forward to supporting them with new tools and advertising opportunities -- empowering them to expand their offerings and audience, as well as improve their financial performance," said MtvU GM Stephen Friedman. "Y2M's unmatched network and stellar team are a welcome addition to MtvU and together we'll unlock a myriad of new opportunities for college students and universities nationwide."

"The combination of Y2M and MtvU will advance the mission of college newspapers across the country and enhance their commercial opportunities with regional and national advertisers. Together, this will strengthen our ability to serve the unique needs of our 450 university newspaper partners, the 7,000 student journalists who rely on our publishing and hosting technology, and the two million registered online subscribers in the College Publisher network," said Y2M president and co-founder John Fees, "We are extremely optimistic about the potential this holds for our college newspaper partners, Y2M and MtvU."

MtvU has grown rapidly since launching in early 2004, increasing distribution more than 35 per cent and tripling the size of its advertiser base.

The network has also proliferated on multiple platforms, becoming the first MTV Networks channel distributed in its entirety on broadband and increasing on campus events to more than 300 a year. This transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2006.

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