NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) and MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA) have struck a joint venture agreement to create and distribute content around the Action Sports Tour. AST, which was formed last year, is targeted to youth and has three tours: AST Dew Tour, the AST Winter Dew Tour and the amateur Free Flow Tour. The company will be co-owned by MTVN and NBC Sports. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. NBC Sports had covered past tours on TV. As part of the new alliance around the AST, MTV and MTV2 will create “lifestyle programming,” involving music, naturally enough. MTV will also manage cross-promotion deals for TV and online content and distribution, as well as consumer products licensing and merchandising for the joint venture. NBC Sports will continue to produce competition coverage of the AST tours and provide live network broadcasts and on-air promotion around AST competitions. Release
A conference call was set up by Van Toffler, president, MTV Networks Music and Logo Group and Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics:
Not your grandfather’s sports tour: Toffler compared to other sports programming MTVN has done, such as Rock N Jock. For this winter’s contest, the company will also set up a mobile WAP site in addition to the AST.com site.
— No longer ripping off MTV: Ebersol laughed at hearing that Toffler Googled him and brought up his past work — which included starting Friday Night Videos, a music video show that premiered on NBC 25 years ago this past summer. That job consisted mostly of “ripping off MTV,” Ebersol conceded. When he and NBC first started covering the Dew Tour back in 2005, Ebersol said he grew to believe that a partnership with MTV would be the best way to grow this coverage into a wider entertainment business.
— Web revamp by Dec.: Toffler said he wants the new AST website to be a lot more “video heavy.” The main focus is to include “commerce features” within the site’s videos, which he didn’t elaborate on. The two companies are also building more community features into the site. Toffler expects the revamped site, and the mobile WAP site, to be ready by December ’08.