Sony BMG Music Entertainment and market leader radio network Austereo have joined forces in a new Internet TV initiative. Crank TV will go live in February at www.cranktv.com.au with a one-hour looped

Sony BMG Music Entertainment and market leader radio network Austereo have joined forces in a new Internet TV initiative.

Crank TV will go live in February at www.cranktv.com.au with a one-hour looped program featuring video clips of Sony BMG's domestic acts.

Sony BMG Australasia chairman/CEO Denis Handlin tells Billboard.biz some footage will be exclusive to Crank TV "to provide the wow factor. Some time ago we decided Sony BMG was going to be the digital market leader and we've gone all out to do that."

The site will also offer ringtones, downloads, podcasts, exclusive performances and interactive competitions. The Sony BMG/Austereo deal is exclusive and runs for six months.

As Australia's first music-based Internet Protocol Television channel, the Australasian Performing Right Assn.'s CEO Brett Cottle confirms to Billboard.biz that it is in discussion with Austereo over performing and reproduction licenses.

"We have a number of existing license schemes in place for Webcasting and video on-demand applications," Cottle says. "We do not expect any difficulty in putting licenses in place but we do have to firstly ensure that we have a full understanding of exactly what the service entails."

The service will be free of charge to users. Sony BMG and Austereo will tap new sponsors and advertisers who are trying to reach Crank TV's core 18-22 demographic.

Handlin declined to comment on sales targets for Crank TV and the income split between the two companies.

Through 2005, Sony BMG Australasia has actively sought new revenue streams from the digital realm. In the wake of its digital conference in November, Handlin plans to announce the involvement of major digital players in tour sponsorship, artist development and campaigns for its artists.

Sony BMG, however, is the only major record label in Australia not to sell music through Apple's iTunes Music Store.

Austereo is planning to launch other online channels to reach older listeners. "We have six million listeners a week, and where they go to get their music, we have to be there," says CEO Michael Anderson.

Austereo today (Dec. 21) said it would include music samples and artist interviews with its 30-minute podcasts. Acts from Universal Music Australia's domestic and international catalog will feature in the first batch of music-related podcasts.

The Austereo group of radio stations include the Triple M and Today Networks.