Friday, March 23, 2007

Video portal to launch this summer

Yesterday, News Corp. and NBC Universal announced their joint plan to launch a video portal this summer. The site will feature content from over ten networks and two major film studios. In the beginning AOL, Microsoft Corp., MySpace and Yahoo Inc. will be the distribution channels for the content.

Although user-generated content can be uploaded and mash-ups of copyrighted material will be available, NBC Universal president and CEO Jeff Zucker said, "The focus here is on the premium content." He continued, "That's the value proposition here."

The new alliance will offer innovative advertising sales, both on-air and on-line. Post-launch, sites affiliated with founding companies, including iVillage and IGN, will also have the opportunity to become distribution partners.

Each distributor will have a branded embedded player to play the video content, which reportedly will include episodes from 24 and House, Heroes, My Name Is Earl, Saturday Night Live, Friday Night Lights and The Riches, to name a few. Viewers will be able to use personalize playlists, do video mashups, utilize video search and to form online communities.

According to Business Wire
News Corporation and NBC Universal are creating this strategic alliance at a time when Internet users and advertisers are embracing online video as never before. In January, there were 123 million unique video streamers and downloaders (comScore Video Metrix). In 2005, video streams totaled nearly 18 billion, and that amount is expected to triple by 2010 (AccuStream iMedia Research, 2006).
During a conference call with reporters, News Corp. president and COO Peter Chernin hailed the untitled venture as "the largest advertising platform on Earth."

Standard and Poor via Business Week had this to say:
This planned venture has prominent constituents, considerable assets and initial advertisers. But we are skeptical about its prospects, given multiple backers with potentially divergent agendas and priorities.
I believe that says it all, y'all.

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