NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--News Corporation and NBC Universal will launch the largest Internet video distribution network ever assembled with the most sought-after content from television and film, it was announced today by Jeff Zucker, President and Chief Executive Officer, NBC Universal and Peter Chernin, President and Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation. The video-rich site will debut this summer with thousands of hours of full-length programming, movies and clips, representing premium content from at least a dozen networks and two major film studios.
AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo! will be the new site’s initial distribution partners. 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 compelling platform for advertisers, targeting the rapidly growing audience of online video consumers. Charter advertisers include Cadbury Schweppes, Cisco, Esurance, Intel and General Motors.
“This is a game changer for Internet video,” said Peter Chernin, President and Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation. “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. 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.”
“Anyone who believes in the value of ubiquitous distribution will find this announcement incredibly exciting,” said Jeff Zucker, President and CEO of NBC Universal. “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.”
At launch, full episodes and clips from current hit shows, including 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, plus hits from the studios’ vast television libraries, will be available free, on an ad-supported basis, within a rich consumer experience featuring personalized video playlists, mashups, online communities and video search. Plus, the extensive programming lineup will include fan favorite films like Borat, Little Miss Sunshine, Devil Wears Prada, The Bourne Identity and Bourne Supremacy with bonus materials and movie trailers. Post-launch, plans will be considered for acquiring additional content as well as producing and licensing original programming for the new site’s audience.
Its launch distribution partners will provide the biggest potential reach of any player on the Internet. Moreover, the new site will actively seek agreements with a variety of additional distribution partners.
“This new venture is further proof that the Internet is now a full-fledged entertainment medium, and we are delighted to serve as a major online distribution partner for the quality content produced by these media powerhouses, as well as a provider of strategic services to the new venture,” said Randy Falco, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AOL.
“This partnership is completely aligned with our continued investment in video on MSN and will allow hundreds of millions of our consumers to tune into a vast library of high-quality, safe and legal online video,” said Kevin Johnson, President, Platform and Services Division, Microsoft. “Our alliance proves that you can deliver quality online video entertainment and protect intellectual property and copyright at the same time. We look forward to working together to explore additional opportunities to distribute this content across other Microsoft services and devices.”
“By delivering the new site’s content to our more than 65 million users, we can build on MySpace’s position as a leading destination for online video, and enable content creators to tap into the power of social networking,” said Peter Levinsohn, President of Fox Interactive Media. “The ability to embed video clips within over 160 million profile pages will empower members of the MySpace community to view, share and truly interact with some of the entertainment world’s most popular content.”
“We are excited to be a part of this landmark partnership that connects people to the content they care about. As the most visited site in the U.S., this deal gives Yahoo!’s users unprecedented access to their favorite shows and offers them engaging content in a premium video format,” said Terry Semel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Yahoo! Inc. "We believe that this relationship underscores Yahoo!'s respect for content owners and copyrights and positions us as one of the premier distribution sites on the Web for entertainment programming."
Each distribution partner will feature the site’s content in an embedded player customized with a look and feel consistent with each site, making the offering organic to each destination. The new company will offer innovative advertising sales propositions by being able to sell cross-platform -- 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.
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 Corporation, 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.
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). And research firm eMarketer estimates $410 million was spent on online video advertising in 2006, an amount that is expected to almost double this year.
About News Corporation
News Corporation (NYSE: NWS, NWS.A; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) had total assets as of December 31, 2006 of approximately US$59 billion and total annual revenues of approximately US$27 billion. News Corporation is a diversified international media and entertainment company with operations in eight industry segments: filmed entertainment; television; cable network programming; direct broadcast satellite television; magazines and inserts; newspapers; book publishing; and other. The activities of News Corporation are conducted principally in the United States, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, Asia and the Pacific Basin.
About NBC Universal
NBC Universal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.
AOL is a global Web services company that operates some of the most popular Web destinations, offers a comprehensive suite of free software and services, runs the country's largest Internet access business, and provides a full set of advertising solutions. A majority-owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX), AOL LLC is based in Dulles, Virginia. AOL and its subsidiaries also have operations in Europe, Canada and Asia. Learn more at AOL.com.
About MSN and Windows Live
MSN® attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. Windows Live, a new set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. MSN and Windows Live will be offered alongside each other as complementary services.
MySpace, a unit of Fox Interactive Media Inc., is the premier lifestyle portal for connecting with friends, discovering popular culture, and making a positive impact on the world. By integrating web profiles, blogs, instant messaging, e-mail, music streaming, music videos, photo galleries, classified listings, events, groups, college communities, and member forums, MySpace has created a connected community. As the second ranked web domain in terms of page views*, MySpace is the most widely used and highly regarded site of its kind and is committed to providing the highest quality member experience. MySpace will continue to innovate with new features that allow its members to express their creativity and share their lives, both online and off. MySpace’s international network includes localized community sites in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Canada, and New Zealand.
Yahoo! Inc. is a leading global Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide. Yahoo!’s mission is to connect people to their passions, their communities and the world’s knowledge. Yahoo! Is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.