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Two Media Giants Unite to Challenge YouTube

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Two Media Giants Unite to Challenge YouTube

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Two Media Giants Unite to Challenge YouTube

Two Media Giants Unite to Challenge YouTube

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NBC Universal and News Corporation have announced plans to set up a new video sharing Web site to compete with Google's YouTube video site.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

From NPR News, this ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The parent companies of NBC and Fox want to steal some of the thunder from YouTube. They want to make it much easier to watch programs like "24" and "The Tonight Show" over the Internet.

(Soundbite of TV show, "The Tonight Show")

Mr. JAY LENO (Comedian, TV Host): And folks, don't forget: Christmas is Wednesday, December 28th.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LENO: So please, whatever you do…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LENO: I love this lawyer's name: Sandy Claus, attorney at law.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: NPR's Jim Zarroli reports on the new venture.

JIM ZARROLI: NBC-Universal and News Corporation said they'll form a single video platform where people can people can watch much of the two companies' TV programs and movies. It will be available through an embedded media player to anyone using Yahoo!, AOL, MSN or MySpace - in other words, to just about any Internet user anywhere. The venture brings the long-awaited convergence of TV and the Internet a step closer. James McQuivey of Forrester Research says the big networks now make some of their programs available free online, but he says the scale of this should attract many more viewers.

Mr. JAMES MCQUIVEY (Forrester Research): It's going to put television shows that people love to watch in one place so that they only have to keep track of one place to go when they want to watch those shows online. It's a very smart thing to do. And it aggregates people, which is what advertisers love.

ZARROLI: McQuivey says the project is an attempt to provide an alternative to YouTube, the video-sharing Web site. YouTube has grown enormously fast and was purchased by Google last year, but it's accused of using video clips without authorization, and is being sued for copyright infringement by Viacom. NBC asked YouTube to remove Saturday Night Live clips from its site, and YouTube has been forced to sign licensing agreements with some media conglomerates. News Corp's Peter Chernin insists that the new venture is not an attempt to compete with YouTube. He said both News Corp and NBC would even be willing to make the new network available through YouTube if the price was right. Chernin said in a conference call that the networks want to expand the viewership their programs receive.

Mr. PETER CHERNIN (News Corp): We're not trying to restrict it. We're actually trying to push it out there as widely as we can. I think, in fact, you know, it's why we've getting so many advertisers because this is - on launch, this will be, I believe, probably the largest advertising platform on earth.

ZARROLI: And Chernin says the initial response from advertisers has been promising. That's important because TV networks - like newspapers - have seen their advertising revenues challenged by the Internet by making their programs widely available, but also controlling the way they're viewed. The companies hope to stem the loss of ad revenue and make peace with the Internet.

Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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