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MTVi Takes Stake in House of Blues, Will Stream Live Music Events Online

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March 03, 2000|From Bloomberg News

NEW YORK — Viacom Inc.'s Internet music unit, MTVi Group Inc., said it will feature live, pay-per-view music events online from the House of Blues Entertainment Inc., owner of one of the largest live-music Web sites.

MTVi also said it took an undisclosed equity stake in closely held House of Blues. Under the two-year deal, MTVi will run House of Blues events through its MTV.com, VH1.com and SonicNet.com sites. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

House of Blues will promote the co-branded events at its 27 concert venues throughout the U.S., increasing MTVi's exposure to young music fans. MTVi hopes the concerts will prove as popular online as they are in person, drawing more users to its sites through live video streaming and digital downloads.

"This agreement helps strengthen our position as the No. 1 music-content company by offering fans exactly what they want," MTVi Chief Executive Nicholas Butterworth said in a statement.

Los Angeles-based House of Blues will get access to promotional time on the MTV and VH1 cable-television channels. The companies will share Internet radio programming, with MTVi providing content to HOB.com and House of Blues radio programs featured on MTVi's Radio SonicNet network.

Last month, MTVi filed to sell shares in an initial stock sale. Viacom shares fell 44 cents to $55.81 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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