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News Corporation and NBC Universal have teamed up to create a new online video site, which will be launched this summer.
The site will show full episodes and clips from TV shows, including 24 and Saturday Night Live, all available free of charge and supported by advertising. Films will also be shown, though it's unclear whether or not these will be free to view.
News Corp President Peter Chernin believes the site's reach will enable it to compete with YouTube:
“This is a game changer for Internet video. We’ll have access to just about the entire U.S. Internet audience at launch."
"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.”
With distribution partners including Yahoo!, MSN, AOL and MySpace, the site will reach 96% of the US internet audience. The content will be featured in an embedded player on partner's sites, which will be customisable to fit in with each site's look and feel.
The new video site is intended to provide an attractive platform for advertisers, with Cadbury Schweppes, Cisco, Esurance, Intel and General Motors already signed up.
The site will not follow the YouTube model of allowing users to upload copyrighted video, which has led to recent lawsuits. Since this is crucial to the popularity of Google's site, it remains to be seen whether or not this site will be a true challenger to YouTube.