NBC & News Corp. Strike Back

NBC Universal and News Corp. have teamed to make network TV shows and studio movies available on AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo Web sites – all of which, maybe not surprisingly, are Google competitors.

"This is a game changer for Internet video," News Corp. President Peter Cherin said in a statement. "We’ll have access to just about the entire U.S. Internet audience at launch." The companies say the new network would reach 96 percent of the monthly unique users on the Web.

People close to the situation say News Corp. and NBC expect to spend $100 million building and marketing the network, the WSJ reported. The TV networks said they will contribute clips and full episodes of shows such as "Heroes," "My Name is Earl," and "The Simpsons," mostly for free. Movies will be available for a fee.

The strategy comes as Google Video and YouTube, which is owned by Google, dominate the online video world. Nearly 1 billion videos were watched on YouTube in January, while visitors to NBC’s site watched about 45 million in that time, according to comScore Video Metrix. Also, Google is expected to swallow up about one-third of all online advertising revenue this year, according to Emarketer Inc.

The major film studios have failed to create Web sites able to rival the competition, which often features pirated content. TV networks run promotional clips on the site, but none has reached a major, multiyear deal amid licensing fee disagreements and piracy concerns.

But this new venture could provide negotiation leverage for NBC and Fox.

The announcement comes just a week after Viacom sued Google for not doing enough to keep copyrighted Viacom content off Google sites.

The NBC-Fox network could be launched as early as this summer, the WSJ said.