YouTube rings up partnership with Verizon Wireless

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Google Inc.'s video-sharing Web site YouTube Inc. is the first to bring user-generated content to mobile phones through partnerships with Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC's Verizon Wireless and AT&T and BellSouth's Cingular Wireless.

The agreements, whose terms were undisclosed, signify YouTube's first major deals with wireless carriers as it tries to extend the reach of its Internet video content beyond the desktop. This comes after Verizon launched its "V Cast" video platform earlier in the year.

"The natural next evolutionary step is to add what is the hottest trend on the Web right now - user-generated content," said Jeff Nelson, spokesman at Verizon Wireless, Basking Ridge, NJ.

Beginning in early December, Verizon's 57 million customers will have access to a limited number of YouTube videos by signing up for its V Cast media service. YouTube will generate approximately 1,000 available videos at a time, updating this selection in real time.

The V Cast service costs $15 a month, or $3 for daily access, and only works with certain handsets. Verizon also partnered with viral video network Revver.com for content as well.

YouTube's partnership with Cingular was ushered in with the YouTube Underground contest presented by Cingular Wireless. Winners were announced Nov. 29.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the YouTube community voted on user-generated music videos. From the top finalists selected by YouTube community votes, contest judge Alexandra Patsavas of Chop Shop Music Supervision selected Greenland as best song, Maldroid as best music video, Ostrich Head as best creative work and Pawnshop Roses as best live performance.

Cingular Video subscribers were able to view selected clips of the video entries on their mobile phones since the launch of the contest and now have access to the four winning videos.

In the future, users will be able to generate videos with cell phones and post them on YouTube directly from the phone.

These developments come a month after YouTube was purchased for $1.65 billion by search engine giant Google. The acquisition's effect on YouTube's unique community and monetization models is still being mapped out.

In terms of copyright concerns, Mr. Nelson said that Verizon had its own standards to make sure no material is broadcast without the permission of the copyright owner.

"All of our content partners have to follow our content standards, which includes respecting copyrighted material," Mr. Nelson said. "Also, the content is reviewed in-house before it goes live."

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