fptechnoOct 29, 2007 12:24:51 IST
NBC and Fox are set to launch an advertising-supported online video site that hosts programming from varied entertainment companies in a bid to seize viewers from Google Inc.'s YouTube, the broadcasters said.
A test version of the site, Hulu.com, goes online Monday, with plans to premiere a final version in a few months, company officials said. The site, developed by News Corp. and NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co., offers free viewing of full-length films and TV episodes, supported by advertising.
It will host programming from the two networks, as well as TV shows and films from Sony Corp. and MGM.
"Consumers identify with shows and films rather than networks," said Hulu chief executive Jason Kilar. "When you aggregate great content together, it makes things easier for the user."
Hulu's debut comes amid tensions between entertainment companies and popular online video sites, such as YouTube, where unauthorized clips from shows often appear.
Viacom Inc., which owns Comedy Central, MTV, VH1 and many other cable channels, is suing YouTube for $1 billion, claiming massive copyright infringement of clips from popular shows. YouTube has said it follows copyright laws by removing protected video upon request.
Hulu will legally offer hundreds of episodes of current shows as well as older ones. Its movie offerings will consist of films that have already been edited for TV broadcast, which will contain short ads online in the places where they would appear on TV.
The shows will be available at Hulu.com, as well as on distribution partner Web sites such as AOL, MSN, MySpace, Yahoo and Comcast. It will also provide viewers with tools that let them embed full episodes on their own blogs, Web sites or personal profile pages.
Hulu will offer some premium content not available on NBC or Fox's own Web sites in a move at odds with some other networks that have tried to direct viewers to their own online content.
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