US Media Giants Throw Down YouTube Gauntlet

26 March 2007

NEW YORK: News Corporation and NBC Universal have teamed to launch an advertising-supported website to distribute full-length TV shows and other video content. The still-to-be-branded venture will debut this summer and aims to become a heavyweight rival to Google's YouTube.

NewsCorp and NBC have allied with online partners Yahoo, AOL, MSN and MySpace to enable users to download movies and TV shows for outright ownership. Initially, however, the focus will be on showing video streams of hit TV shows - with ads.

Among the advertisers supporting the launch will be Cadbury Schweppes, Cisco, Esurance, Intel and General Motors.

The new venture, based in New York and Los Angeles, will be graced by the presence on its board of NewsCorp president/coo Peter Chernin and Jeff Zucker, his opposite number at NBC.

Comments Chernin: "This is a game-changer for internet video. 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."

Which is not music to Google's ears. Since its $1.65 billion (€1.23bn; £839m) purchase of YouTube last year, the duo have struggled to forge lucrative relationships with traditional media companies.

Their failure to do so is epitomized by Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit against the twosome for alleged breach of copyright [WARC News:15-Mar-07].

  • Meanwhile, YouTube's Japanese site broke the 10 million visitor barrier during February, according to latest data from researcher NetRatings Japan. The milestone was reached just 14 months after the company launched its operations in the country.

    It took web portal Yahoo four years and seven months to hit the 10m visitors per month level, and six-and-a-half years for online retailer Rakuten Ichiba.

    Data sourced from Financial Times online and Asahi Shimbun Online; additional content by WARC staff