News has come in via TechCrunch that the rumored joint venture between the major television networks to create a video sharing site of their own has finally become a reality.
According to Mike Arrington, Peter Chernin (COO News Corp.) and Jeff Zucker (CEO NBC Universal) will later today announce the launch of:
"...the largest Internet video distribution network ever assembled with the most sought-after content from television and film." Content from at least a dozen TV networks and two major film studios is promised. Initial distribution partners include AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo.
And Arrington notes some impressive content:
At launch, full episodes and clips from current hit shows, including Heroes, 24, House, My Name Is Earl, Saturday Night Live, Friday Night Lights, The Riches, 30 Rock, The Simpsons, The Tonight Show, Prison Break, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader and Top Chef, plus hits from the studios’ vast television libraries, will be available free, on an ad-supported basis, within a rich consumer experience featuring personalized video playlists, mashups, online communities and video search. Plus, the extensive programming lineup will include fan favorite films like Borat, Little Miss Sunshine, Devil Wears Prada, The Bourne Identity and Bourne Supremacy with bonus materials and movie trailers.
Whilst many details are missing, it's clear that the new venture is designed to knock the professionally-produced stuffing out of YouTube. Call it a 'trial separation' or a full-on divorce, but it certainly feels like this is the beginning of User-Generated Content and professional productions going their separate ways.
The question remains, who will this split harm most? Of course a lot depends on how well the studios execute. Sure they have some great content, but community is a lot harder to manufacture.
Update: ZDNet news has more.