Four major television networks are reportedly in discussions to create a centralized clearinghouse for their content online in an apparent effort to compete with YouTube. However, the Wall Street Journal says that any potential deal is still a long way off from becoming a reality.
Fox, Viacom, CBS, and NBC are interested in the project, as they see potential in the growing Web advertising market. Rather than letting companies like YouTube profit from it, they hope to cash in on these lucrative deals by running their own site.
It is possible that the site could operate much like YouTube in allowing users to upload their own videos, butdetails of the plan have not been finalized. Notably missing from the negotiations is ABC.
Owned by Disney, the network apparently intends to go it alone. It feels its brand is strong enough to sell itself to consumers on its own, and the network already offers some of its programming by itself online through its own website.
Several proposals have been floated by the company, including hosting the videos on News Corp.’s MySpace Web site. However, the other companies balked at the idea of posting their videos on the site that is essentially owned by a competitor.
The current plans call for a completely separate site that is free of any conflicting interest. The dilemma now for the networks is to decide whether ad revenues or lucrative licensing deals from Google are more important.
The WSJ says a proposal to Fox may be worth $140 million over three years. It is likely Google is prepared to offer the other networks deals that could be worth just as much, if not more.