January 27, 2006, 12:00 AM

iTunes animated about new video download agreement

ITunes will distribute video content from Viacom cable networks, including Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV and VH1, for $1.99 per episode.

Music and video download e-retailer iTunes is hoping to laugh all the way to the bank. The company has announced an agreement with Viacom to distribute video content from Viacom cable networks, including Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV and VH1. For $1.99 per episode, online shoppers can download shows from the networks at the iTunes Music Store and watch them on video iPods or computers.

To promote the new deal, Apple’s iTunes on Jan. 30 will premiere the next episode of TV’s animated “reality show” Drawn Together three days prior to its broadcast debut. It will be offered free to all iTunes users.

On Jan. 26, iTunes began offering episodes from Comedy Central programs, including Drawn Together, South Park and Stand-Up. In the months ahead, iTunes will add more content from Comedy Central, including episodes of programs prior to their release on DVD. On Jan. 26, iTunes also began offering episodes of popular MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon programs, including Beavis & Butthead, Real World/Road Rules Challenge, Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants.

The Viacom-owned programs join iTunes’ growing list of video offerings. Other shows sold by iTunes include: ABC’s Desperate Housewives and Lost; and NBC’s Law & Order, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Office. At the annual Macworld show earlier this month, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said iTunes has sold 8 million video downloads since the video store was introduced in October.

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