Roo To Power mtvU Online College Papers

MTV's mtvU has tapped broadband services company Roo Group to power the College Publisher network's video channels. Roo's customizable video players will now service mtvU's more than 500 online college newspapers.

Each of the network's student-run publications will now have free access to a customizable, private-label video player, along with a variety of on-demand content channels--including news, sports and entertainment from providers such as The Associated Press and Reuters.

The Roo content team will work closely with mtvU to develop and secure new original video exclusively for the network. The Roo player will also enable the online student papers to distribute their own video content, or to partner with a university's TV station to make its programming available worldwide.

The video players will be individually branded to reflect the look and feel of each college newspaper site, integrate seamlessly with a paper's online edition, and be powered by the Roo Video Exchange platform.

Publications that install the plug-and-play applications will also be able to capitalize on a new video advertising revenue stream, according to Stephen Friedman, general manager of mtvU.

"This video platform unlocks new creative possibilities and sources of revenue for our affiliates," said Friedman.

With the addition of online video, and several other recently introduced multimedia features, mtvU also announced the renaming of College Publisher to the College Media Network.

Robert Petty, CEO of Roo, said meeting the demands of young consumers is no easy task. "College students are probably the most discriminating, demanding and sophisticated consumers of video in the market today," he said. "They watch online video more than any other group, and their expectations for content and technical quality are extraordinarily high."

Last August, mtvU acquired Y2M: Youth Media & Marketing Networks, the parent company of College Publisher. Since the acquisition, the network has grown from 450 campus publications to 510, and now serves institutions with a combined enrollment of over 5.5 million students, reaching an average of 5 million unique users each month.

Roo has established itself as a company to watch in the nascent broadband industry. Earlier this year, News Corp. agreed to purchase a 5% stake in the company, and will potentially take another 5% in the near term.

Along with the mtvU deal, Roo has been pursuing expansion through partnership deals and acquisition. Earlier this year, the company agreed to buy legal P2P service provider Wurld Media's assets for up to $10 million in cash and stock. The deal gave Roo's existing clients--including News Corp., Verizon and The to a burgeoning pay-to-play market.

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