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News Corp, NBC plan online video service – WSJ

News Corp, NBC plan online video service Thursday, March 22, 2007 21:41 IST

NEW YORK: News Corp. and NBC Universal said on Thursday they will jointly launch an online video site this summer, in a move to compete directly with Google’s popular YouTube.  The site will feature full-length television shows, movies and clips, including popular shows such as "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons," and hit films like "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Borat".   

Yahoo, Microsoft, Time Warner’s AOL and News Corp.’s MySpace will be the site’s initial distribution partners, according to a joint statement from News Corp. and NBC Universal, owned by General Electric Co. and Vivendi.  The free site will include advertising, with Cadbury Schweppes Plc, Cisco Systems Inc. and General Motors among companies that have signed on.   

"This is a game changer for Internet video," News Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin said in the statement.  We’ll have access to just about the entire US 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," he added.   

Traditional media companies have been rumored for months to be planning some type of joint online video service to reach a new generation of viewers who are as likely to be found in front of computers as television screens.   

NBC and News Corp. were said to have tried to woo Viacom into the venture.   But Viacom, the owner of MTV Networks and Comedy Central, decided to take the legal route against YouTube, accusing it and Google of "massive intentional copyright infringement" in a billion-dollar lawsuit filed earlier this month.  Viacom said in a statement the new online video venture was a welcome addition to the industry because it will provide a vehicle that respects copyright protection.   

"The venture supports our view that upholding the rights of content creators is the only logical and legitimate path for the creative and technology communities to come together," Viacom said.   

When the NBCNews Corp. site launches, it will include full episodes and clips from current TV shows such as "Heroes," "24," "House," "My Name Is Earl," "Friday Night Lights," and "The Tonight Show," as well as shows from the companies’ television libraries.   Films including "Little Miss Sunshine," "The Bourne Identity" and "The Bourne Supremacy" will also be available on the site.

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