Fox (News Corp.) and NBC Universal said on Thursday they will launch a free online video site this summer, featuring full-length movies and television shows in a challenge to YouTube. (Source: Reuters/Yahoo News). The two companies have also enlisted Yahoo, Microsoft and TimeWarner (AOL) as distributors of the entertainment on their websites.The move underscores how serious a threat YouTube has become to media companies, which fear losing a new generation of viewers who are as likely to be found in front of computers as television screens.
Content will include such popular TV shows as “Saturday Night Live” on NBC and “The Simpsons” from News Corp.’s Fox network, as well as films like “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Borat” from 20th Century Fox.
“This is a game changer for Internet video,” News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin said in a statement. “We’ll have access to just about the entire U.S. Internet audience at launch.”
What’s WillVideoForFood’s take?
Based on Yahoo, AOL and MSN’s involvement I’m not sure this is an online video “site” at all. It sounds like a new distribution platform for NBC and Fox. This is motivated by the old “an enemy of my enemy is my friend” theory, but I do think it’s far more sustainable than previous attempts by networks to dethrone YouTube and others. For starters, it will have good content and a wide audience.
Is it the end of YouTube? Hardly. Will Google try a similar play for alternative content (with other networks)? Of course. In the end, this will all accelerate the space and raise the bar in online video. So bring it on.
Let’s also be sure that Yahoo, MSN and AOL aren’t idiots. Their deal with Fox and NBC is surely not exclusive.