RealTime IT News

MTV, Liberty Digital Seal Internet Music Alliance

MTV Networks Thursday made a move to increase its presence on the Internet by purchasing online music network SonicNet.

As part of the deal, Liberty Digital, a subsidiary of Liberty Media, will take a 10 percent stake in MTV's online music holdings. No other financial details were disclosed.

SonicNet provides music news and broadcasts live concerts. Its holdings include the Web sites Addicted to Noise, which offers music news and information, Streamland, which showcases music videos, online rock magazine Trouser Press, movie review site Cinemachine and the Alternative Buyers Guide, which offers record reviews.

No other financial details were disclosed.

The deal is MTV's latest effort to capitalize on the Web's popularity. Earlier this year, the company acquired Imagine Radio which broadcasts music over the Internet.

Tom Freston, MTV Networks chairman and chief executive officer, said the SonicNet deal, combined with Imagine Radio, will serve as key building blocks for a new Internet music presence scheduled to launch in June.

"With the promotional power of our music brands and direct relationships with over 300 million consumers worldwide, we are the most innovative and comprehensive presence in music content and commerce on the Internet and in interactive television. As we have done in television, we intend to take our preeminent domestic online presence to the largely untapped international marketplace," he said.

The companies are also partnering to launch an electronic commerce initiative that will offer some of TCI's cable customers the opportunity to purchase music and related goods online. The service will be available to customers in areas where digital set-top boxes are available. That rollout is scheduled late this year.

In addition, MTV will acquire THE BOX, an interactive, 24-hour music network. No details of that deal were released. The transaction is expected to close by the end of June.