Microsoft said today it would significantly increase the amount of professional content on its European video sites, in a sign that the software giant plans to complete with more wide-reaching sites such as YouTube.
Announcing deals with Sony BMG and MTV Networks that will deliver music and other videos to its MSN platform, Microsoft said that it was hoping to cash in on the growing online video advertising market, which it expected would be the fastest growing category of adverts on the web "for the forseeable future."
It is understood that Microsoft will share advertising revenue with both Sony BMG and MTV, but no financial details of the deals were released.
Microsoft, which already has similar relationships with both companies in the US, has been struggling to make an impact in online video, and is hoping that by increasing the amount of 'big brand' content on its site it can attract larger audiences. In the UK, only 735,000 users visited MSN video in December, according to Nielsen Online, whereas more than ten million went to YouTube.