Fox, Viacom, CBS, and NBC Universal Teaming Up To Take On YouTube

By Amit Chowdhry ● Dec 9, 2006

Today the Wall Street Journal reported that News Corp.’s FOX media company, Viacom Inc., CBS Corporation, and General Electric Company’s NBC Universal are currently in talks about developing a video website to compete with Google Inc.’s YouTube Inc. This information was provided by people that were close to the situation and also Mike Arrington mentioned his awareness on the subject as well in an article entitled ‘The Video Startup That May Never Launch.’

These companies are planning on taking this project with joint ownership which would serve as a primary source for streaming video feeds of the TV shows and other content that these networks provide. This would take marketshare away from YouTube and put advertising money in the pockets of these media titans.

Right now the deal is just in talks and the production of the actual software has not initialized. American Broadcasting Company, who is owned by Walt Disney Co. is not participating in the discussions because the company wants to rely on its own brand recognition.

A lot of these talks were inspired by Rupert Murdoch’s accusation that YouTube’s growth was heavily contributed by a MySpace user’s ability to embed YouTube videos on their personal profiles. At the beginning of the year, Fox, CBS, NBC, and Viacom were considering adding video content to Fox’s MySpace, but later retracted this idea as they did not want their content to be spread across a News Corporation product.

Another feasible option for these media titans is to accept an offer from Google Inc., who are willing to pay $140 million over the course of 3 years to embed content from these networks. NBC and CBS already have deals with YouTube in which these networks have promotional channels for trailers and other content.

Within the last month C-SPAN and Comedy Central’s parent company Viacom ordered that Comedy Central remove The Colbert Report clips from YouTube. BoingBoing has a brief report on why this occurred.

A lawsuit collaboration between News Corp., Viacom, and NBC against YouTube Inc. is still pending over the accusation of copyright infringement. YouTube defends their service by immediately responding to the removal of clips when the copyright holders complain about their content making its way on YouTube. On CNET, it was reported that Mark Cuban and the Los Angeles News Service are potentially teaming up by suing YouTube for the inclusion of the Los Angeles riots and the exclusive police chase of O.J. Simpson.