News Corp., NBCU Add Comcast to Distribution Network

Comcast Corp. said it will distribute video from the online venture that News Corp. and NBC Universal recently set up as a rival to the hugely popular YouTube site.

Comcast.net and Fancast.com will serve as key distribution sites for News Corp. and NBCU’s recently announced online video venture, the companies said. Comcast will also provide non-exclusive content for domestic distribution, including E!, Style, G4, Versus and Golf Channel.

The deal opens up new advertising revenue opportunities for Comcast, which is benefiting from ad sales on its Internet sites and wants to tap into the growing demand for spots on video venues.

The as yet unnamed News Corp.-NBC venture was announced last month and will start later this year. Philadelphia-based Comcast, the world’s largest cable TV company, is joining Yahoo, Microsoft’s MSN and Time Warner’s AOL, Google’s three biggest rivals, in helping to distribute video from the venture. Google bought YouTube last year for $1.7 billion.

“We’re delighted that the nation’s largest cable provider will be a major player in this new venture,” Peter Chernin, president of News Corporation, said in a statement today. “News Corp. and NBC have long histories with Comcast and we’re committed to expanding our relationship in this new media universe. We believe there is a wealth of opportunities to exploit broadband distribution to benefit both our businesses.”

News Corporation and NBC Universal have so far signed AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo to carry TV and film content from News Corp., NBC TV, and other unnamed media partners. Advertisers at launch will include Cadbury Schweppes, Cisco, Esurance, Intel Corporation, General Motors and Royal Caribbean.

The companies today did not detail the types of advertising that will be offered on Comcast’s video network. Calls to spokespeople at the firms weren’t immediately returned.

Comcast recently said it will buy Fandango, the movie information and ticket site, for an undisclosed sum and spelled out plans to introduce a new site, called Fancast, for lovers of filmed entertainment.

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