MTV Networks Announces Acquisition of NeoPets, Inc.

World's Fastest Growing Online Youth Community with 25 Million Members to Join

MTV Networks Stable of Brands

Jun 20, 2005, 01:00 ET from MTV Networks

    NEW YORK, June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom
 International (NYSE:   VIA and VIA.B), has acquired NeoPets, Inc. the owner and
 operator of, the world's largest and fastest growing youth
 community on the Internet. The announcement was made today by Herb Scannell,
 Vice Chairman, MTV Networks and President, Nickelodeon Networks.
     Neopets(R) is a global online entertainment network whose members create
 and care for "virtual pets" that inhabit a mythical land called "Neopia(R)."
 To date, more than 25 million members worldwide have created Neopets accounts
 in ten different languages, generating more than five billion pageviews per
 month.  Both Nielsen//NetRatings and comScore Media Metrix consistently rank as one of the top-10 "stickiest" sites on the Web.
     "NeoPets is a smart, creative and innovative company that with Doug
 Dohring's leadership has become one of the most popular and fastest growing
 sites on the Web. NeoPets users are passionate about the site and its unique
 offerings, and that is exactly the kind of connection with audiences that MTV
 Networks cultivates and values," said Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO, MTV
 Networks. "This property is a perfect fit for MTV Networks, and its
 acquisition is an important move for us as we aggressively move forward as a
 multi-platform entertainment company, dedicated to serving our audiences
 across all the platforms that they use and love."
     "NeoPets, like our brands at MTV Networks, is a tremendously successful
 creative-driven company that is focused on serving its target audience with
 great content," Scannell commented. "The combination of NeoPets and
 gives us a one-two punch leadership position in the online entertainment space
 among kids and young adults. The hidden value of NeoPets is the fact that over
 60% of its audience is over age 13, which aligns with the audiences of many of
 our MTV Network brands."
     NeoPets Chairman and CEO Doug C. Dohring, as well as the NeoPets senior
 management team, will continue in their roles following the completion of the
 acquisition, and will manage the company from its base in Glendale, CA. Mr.
 Dohring will report into Jeffrey Dunn, President, Nickelodeon Film and
     "Since early 2000, when we founded the company, I felt that we could
 create a strong connection between the youth of the world and our NeoPets-
 created characters and storylines, which we would ultimately extend into
 television, movies, merchandise, publishing and other offline vehicles in a
 very significant way," said Mr. Dohring.  "While we have already made great
 strides in this direction over the past five years, MTV Networks, with their
 extraordinary success and experience in all of these areas, makes an ideal
 partner to accelerate this process and fully realize our original vision for
 the Neopets brand.
     Added Jeffrey Dunn, President, Nickelodeon Film and Enterprises: "Doug
 Dohring and his team have done an amazing job of building a truly unique
 global entertainment brand conceived exclusively for the multimedia
 generation. NeoPets will be a terrific fit within our Enterprises businesses
 because it brings an emerging consumer products business, and the potential
 for feature film animation. With over 50 original and highly appealing
 characters, there is tremendous opportunity for creative innovation moving
     Membership in has grown from approximately 90,000 in April
 2000 to more than 25 million in May, 2005. Significantly, the site's explosive
 growth rate has been "viral" - meaning that the impetus for this dynamic
 growth has been word-of-mouth from user to user, rather than commercial
     The range of activities offered to the audience is virtually
 endless.  Members write stories, poems and comics for The Neopian Times (the
 site's online weekly newspaper), submit artwork to the Neopets Art Gallery,
 store their Neopoints(R) (the site's virtual currency) in their own interest-
 bearing bank accounts, participate in interactive site-wide plots, and make
 friends with other members through NeoMail(R) (the site's internal email
 system), or through the site's message boards and guilds, all of which are
 monitored using the company's unique message filtering software.  With ten
 lands to explore, more than 100 games to play, numerous weekly creative
 contests to enter, as well as pets to feed and interact with, Neopets members
 are highly engaged by the challenging and ever expanding site content.
     In early 2003 NeoPets began a massive translation initiative to make the
 site available in multiple languages.  Today the site is available in ten
 languages, including English, Japanese, both Traditional and Simplified
 Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese, which makes
 Neopets' content available to nearly 90% of the world's Internet population.
 NeoPets' proprietary translation technology enables members of different
 cultures to interact simultaneously with one another on the site, thereby
 further expanding the international audience and increasing cross-
 border communication and understanding among young people everywhere.  In May
 2005 alone, the company served over 1 billion non-English pageviews.
     The privately owned NeoPets, Inc., a global media and entertainment
 company, owns and operates, one of the world's leading online
 youth communities., consistently ranked among the top-10
 "stickiest" sites on the Web by Nielsen//NetRatings and comScore Media Metrix,
 has registered over 25 million members since its inception and generates more
 than five billion pageviews per month worldwide.  The company is headquartered
 in Glendale, California.
     MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom International Inc. (NYSE:   VIA, VIA.B), is
 one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all
 media platforms.  MTV Networks, with more than 100 channels worldwide, owns
 and operates the following television programming services -- MTV: MUSIC
 FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 13 digital services, all of these networks are
 trademarks of MTV Networks.  MTV Networks connects with its audiences through
 its robust consumer products businesses and its more than 80 interactive
 properties worldwide, including online, broadband, wireless and interactive
 television services and also has licensing agreements, joint ventures, and
 syndication deals whereby all of its programming services can be seen