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Thursday, March 22, 2007
News Corp., NBC to Unveils YouTube Rival


News Corp. and NBC Universal announced on Thursday that they are creating an online video site to compete with Google's YouTube.

The Internet video distribution network will include content from television and film, said Jeff Zucker, President and Chief Executive Officer, NBC Universal and Peter Chernin, President and Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation.

The video-rich site will debut this summer with thousands of hours of full-length programming, movies and clips, representing premium content from at least a dozen networks and two major film studios.

AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo! will be the new site?s initial distribution partners. Their users, who represent 96 percent of the monthly U.S. unique users on the Internet, will have unlimited access to the site?s vast library of content. This media alliance will offer consumers free long- and short-form video and create a platform for advertisers, targeting the rapidly growing audience of online video consumers. Charter advertisers include Cadbury Schweppes, Cisco, Esurance, Intel and General Motors.

"This is a game changer for Internet video," said Peter Chernin, President and Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation. "We?ll have access to just about the entire U.S. Internet audience at launch. And for the first time, consumers will get what they want -- professionally produced video delivered on the sites where they live. We?re excited about the potential for this alliance and we?re looking forward to working with any content provider or distributor who wants to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity."

At launch, full episodes and clips from current hit shows, including Heroes, 24, House, My Name Is Earl, Saturday Night Live, Friday Night Lights, The Riches, 30 Rock, The Simpsons, The Tonight Show, Prison Break, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader and Top Chef, plus hits from the studios? television libraries, will be available free, on an ad-supported basis, within a consumer experience featuring personalized video playlists, mashups, online communities and video search. Plus, the programming lineup will include fan favorite films like Borat, Little Miss Sunshine, Devil Wears Prada, The Bourne Identity and Bourne Supremacy with bonus materials and movie trailers.

The new company will be located in New York and Los Angeles. A transitional management team led by NBC Universal?s Chief Digital Officer George Kliavkoff, along with an experienced group of executives from NBC Universal and News Corporation, will work together to launch the site.

News Corporation and NBC Universal are creating this strategic alliance at a time when Internet users and advertisers are embracing online video as never before. In January, there were 123 million unique video streamers and downloaders (comScore Video Metrix). In 2005, video streams totaled nearly 18 billion, and that amount is expected to triple by 2010 (AccuStream iMedia Research, 2006). And research firm eMarketer estimates $410 million was spent on online video advertising in 2006, an amount that is expected to almost double this year.

The new venture, which could launch this summer, had tried to woo Viacom Inc. because its MTV Networks appeals to younger viewers, the L.A. Times said.

But Viacom decided to take the legal route against YouTube, filing a billion-dollar lawsuit last week against Google and the popular online video-sharing site, accusing them of massive intentional copyright infringement.


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