News Corp., NBC Universal alliance creates YouTube rival

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News Corp. and NBC Universal are rivaling YouTube with plans to debut an Internet video distribution network.

The video site will debut this summer with full-length programming, movies and clips 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.

Users will have unlimited access to the site's content library. This media alliance will offer consumers free long- and short-form videos and create a platform for advertisers. Charter advertisers include Cadbury Schweppes, Cisco, Esurance, Intel and General Motors.

At launch, full episodes and clips from shows including "Heroes," "24," "House," "My Name Is Earl," "Saturday Night Live," "The Simpsons" and "The Tonight Show" will be available free, on an ad-supported basis, within a rich consumer experience featuring personalized video playlists, mashups, online communities and video search.

In addition, the programming lineup will include such films as "Borat," "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Devil Wears Prada," with bonus materials and movie trailers. Post-launch, plans will be considered for acquiring additional content as well as producing and licensing original programming for the new site's audience.

This comes at a time when Google's YouTube is being sued by Viacom for copyright infringement. However, YouTube does not feel threatened by the News Corp. and NBC Universal's undertaking.

"We value our relationships with NBC and Fox as they continue to upload content to promote their signature programming and look forward to working with them in the future," said Julie Supan, director of global communications at YouTube.

"YouTube has the largest audience and offers the most entertaining, original video content on the Internet. Our community is passionate about our service, and we look forward to continuing to provide a unique place for original content creators both large and small."

The new site will seek agreements with a variety of additional distribution partners. Each distribution partner will feature the site's content in an embedded player customized to each site.

The new company, which will be located in New York and Los Angeles, will offer advertising sales propositions by being able to sell both on-air and on-line. Post-launch, sites affiliated with founding companies, including iVillage and IGN, also will have the opportunity to become distribution partners.

A transitional management team led by NBC Universal's chief digital officer George Kliavkoff, along with executives from NBC Universal and News Corp. will work together to launch the site. Each company will devote a significant marketing and promotional budget to the new site's launch.

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