Viacom has announced plans to make its videos available on thousands of sites, in an attempt to challenge YouTube.

MTV, which is owned by Viacom, will soon allow web users to post almost all videos from MTV-owned sites on their own blogs and sites.

The move follows the company’s decision on 2 February to ask YouTube to remove over 100,000 unauthorised Viacom clips from the site, claiming copyright infringement.

Mike Salmi, president of global digital media at MTV Networks said that the decision was made due to the need to open up Viacom’s websites and content for consumers and other companies.

The idea of allowing people to take content and embed it in their own sites is not new for Viacom as its Comedy Central site and brands iFilm and AddictingGames already permit this. It will enable Viacom’s videos to reach a greater number of people by taking advantage of the social-networking potential of the internet that has been encouraged by sites such as MySpace.

In December last year companies including Viacom and News Corp were in talks about creating a rival video website to YouTube but Viacom later pulled out of the discussions. The company today announced its plans to lay off 250 staff at MTV to reallocate resources toward digital projects and new networks.