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News Corp (MySpace) & NBC Partner to Build YouTube Rival

Speaking of video . . . As is being widely picked up this morning, the LA Times is reporting on a YouTube rival being created by News Corp. and NBC Universal:

News Corp. and NBC Universal plan to announce as soon as today that they are creating an online video site stocked with TV shows and movies, plus clips that users can modify and share with friends, according to people close to the negotiations.

The two companies enlisted help from some of Google’s biggest Internet rivals. The News Corp.-NBC Universal partnership has deals with Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp., Time Warner Inc.’s AOL and News Corp.’s MySpace to place videos in front of their collective audience of hundreds of millions.

This has been in the works for awhile (WSJ link sub req’d) but has new momentum. TechCrunch thinks this won’t be a “direct” YouTube competitor. Regardless it’s an attempt of the big media companies to prevent what happened to the music industry (via iTunes) to happen to them — have a third party control your fate.

While YouTube doesn’t appear to have suffered from the withdrawal of Viacom content, people do want both the “head” and the “tail” — in other words user-generated and branded video.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend . . .

In one way of looking at this it’s everybody vs. Google. But the “X variable” here is the user experience. Let’s assume that the content is there. It’s not clear these disparate folks (and cultures) can come together to create something that is really elegant and viable from a user-experience perspective.

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Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.

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