NBC Teams Up With News Corp., AOL and Others to Form Video Site To Rival YouTube

NBC Universal and News Corp. announced today that they are joining forces to launch a new video portal this summer enabling them to better control their programming and give YouTube some competition. It’s about time. What’s taken these major content owners so long?

I like this deal for two major reasons. One, this new video portal will have real syndication in place since they are teaming up with Yahoo, Time Warner Inc.’s AOL, Microsoft Corp.’s MSN, and MySpace as their initial distribution partners. In addition, they are going to focus on producing professional looking content as opposed to most of the junk you see on YouTube. Some have said this new video portal can’t be compared to YouTube since YouTube is all about allowing users to upload their own videos and the new NBC Universal and News Corp. portal has not yet defined what roll user generated content will play.

It’s hard to know how much of YouTube’s traffic comes from user generated video or from TV produced content, but we know that a vast majority of traffic comes from TV content. I mean, how many jackass style videos can you really watch each day?

For me, the outstanding questions about this deal are:

  • How will this new NBC Universal and News Corp. portal distribute content? Will they use a firm like Brightcove or try and keep most of the technology in-house? If they don’t have a user generated function, then all they are doing is delivering video which they can easily do. But if they need to have transcoding and other functionality, my guess is they will partner with someone so that they enter the market faster.
  • What will be the role of user generated video in the new portal?
  • How many other content providers will jump on board with NBC Universal and News Corp. to add their content to this new portal? If it is successful when it launches, many other content owners will quickly want to join.

It seems every time there is a big deal announced people always seem to call it a "game changer" even when the new offering has not yet launched. In most cases, I think it’s a bunch of hype and they use the term simply to create drama, but in this case, I think this announcement really does have the potential to change the economics for some content owners.