Online search titan Google and Viacom's MTV Networks have inked a deal to distribute advertising-supported television clips to website owners.

The agreement, the first of its kind, sets up a syndication network to put short clips of hit shows such as SpongeBob Squarepants and Laguna Beach across the web.

Revenue will be shared by all participants in the agreement, but the proportions are undisclosed.

The test with Viacom begins at the end of this month. The US-headquartered media giant is hoping its alliance with Google will extend the reach of its video programming to a host of new sites.

But it is also trying to establish a business model to reduce the unauthorized use of TV properties on websites.

Observes Viacom ceo Tom Freston: "There hasn't really been a legal alternative along these lines." He adds the deal will "monetize . . . the way that people are consuming content these days."

Eric Schmidt, Google ceo, says the online company will try different formats for ads in its test. These include traditional television commercials before or after the clip, as well as static images that appear on the screen when a clip is completed.

In return for a share of the ad revenue, and a legal source of video, website owners will have to be approved by Viacom. It only wants sites with at least 100,000 viewers a month.

Initial partcipants include, and, all of which focus on music and videos.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff