Viacom Inc. is testing Google’s (www.google.com) ability to both market and distribute its television programming.
The media giant’s UPN unit cut a deal with Google to add the first episode of its new Everybody Hates Chris series on its Google Video Service. The premiere episode of the show -- which stars Chris Rock and premiered on UPN Sept. 22 -- will be available on Google Video Sept. 26-29.
It’s the first time Google has offered Google Video users the ability to watch a new TV show through the Web site, which remains in beta-test mode.
Google is promoting Everybody Hates Chris on the Google Video home page, as well as using its search engine to promote the show. Web surfers who search Google for “Chris Rock,” “comedy clips” and about 300 other search terms will see a “sponsored link” to the Google Video episode.
UPN currently doesn’t plan to supply other episodes of Everybody Hates Chris or other series to Google Video, but CBS Digital president Larry Kramer said the company may run shorter promotional videos for its series through Google Video.
“This is the first attempt at what we hope will be a growing relationship. We’re going to see how it works,” Kramer said.
He added that one of the biggest challenges is obtaining rights to allow Google to distribute Everybody Hates Chris through Google Video.
In addition to getting approvals from Rock’s production company and UPN affiliates, UPN needed to negotiate individually with owners of the music that was used on the Everybody Hates Chris episode.
“We hope that the success of this will make it easier to go forward to write contracts that anticipate things like this,” Kramer said.