MSN Messenger in deal to back MTV Europe 'Icon' series

LONDON - MSN Messenger, Microsoft's instant messaging service, has struck its first broadcast sponsorship deal by backing new MTV Europe show 'MTV Icon'.

The six-figure cross-media deal, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of Messenger's launch, will see the sponsorship run across MTV Europe's 11 regional channels, reaching 119m homes.

'MTV Icon' is a European-made series that honours bands or individual artists. The first show will feature The Cure and be shot in London's Old Billingsgate Market on September 17.

The deal includes exclusive pan-European sponsorship, billboards, promotional spots and extensive branding at the event.

In addition, MTV Europe's 11 regional websites will feature sponsorship and exclusive competition prizes such as an MSN Messenger chat with The Cure.

Microsoft will give away the last 100 tickets to the event through MSN Messenger, which as 29m users across the Continent.

In five European markets -- including the UK -- users will be able to download The Cure's 14 albums from MSN Music Club.

Dave Sibley, senior vice-president and general manager of International Marketing Partnerships at MTV, claimed the sponsorship would help MSN "deliver a compelling youth marketing campaign and leverage awareness and brand loyalty of MSN Messenger".

Last month, Marketing revealed that MSN UK was to relaunch its homepage for the first time in three years to lure major brand advertisers. The page, which is accessed by nearly 16m users a month, now carries larger, more flexible advertising space (Marketing, July 27).

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