The media companies say “the largest Internet video distribution network ever assembed” will feature thousands of hours of TV shows and feature films. AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo! are in as “distribution partners.” Zucker, Chernin will hold press conference at 3 p.m. ET today.
Confirming a story in the Los Angeles Times this morning, News Corp. and NBC Universal announced that they will be launching this summer “the largest Internet video distribution network ever assembled.”
The Times said the site is intended to compete with Google’s YouTube, the popular aggregator of user-generated content, but News Corp. and NBC U avoided any reference to YouTube or user-generated content in their press release.
The two companies, which plan a 3 p.m. press conference today, said their unnamed site will debut this summer with thousands of hours of full-length programming, movies and clips, provided by at least a dozen networks and two major film studios.
AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo! will be the new site’s initial distribution partners, they said. 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 Corp. and General Motors.
“This is a game changer for Internet video,” said Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer of News Corp. “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,” Chernin said.
“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,” he said.
Jeff Zucker, president and CEO of NBC Universal, said, “Anyone who believes in the value of ubiquitous distribution will find this announcement incredibly exciting.
“This venture supercharges our distribution of protected, quality content to fans everywhere. Consumers get a hugely attractive aggregation of a wide range of content, and marketers get a novel way to connect with a large and highly engaged audience,” Zucker said.
At launch, full episodes and clips will be available from such shows as 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.
The programming lineup will also include films like Borat, Little Miss Sunshine, Devil Wears Prada, The Bourne Identity and Bourne Supremacy with bonus materials and movie trailers.
The site will feature personalized video playlists, mashups, online communities and video search.
Post-launch, plans will be considered for acquiring additional content as well as producing and licensing original programming for the new site’s audience.
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 Corp., will work together to launch the site.
The company’s permanent management will be announced shortly, along with branding details and additional advertising partners. Each company will devote a significant marketing and promotional budget to the new site’s launch.