Aggressive new ventures propel TV migration to Internet

In a series of new initiatives, major TV content owners raced to integrate traditional video programming with new Web-based services on the Internet last week.

NBC Universal created a new venture that will distribute video programming on the Web. The company — NBC Broadband (NBBC) — is expected to use programming produced by the network's affiliate TV stations, as well as other media companies. It seeks to compete with popular user-generated media sites such as YouTube.

Web sites that meet certain size and quality criteria can receive programming from NBC and other media companies, including CNET Networks and CBS's CSTV. Partners will receive the video clips for free in return for a portion of the advertising sales.

Commercial spots will be inserted before each video segment, with the revenue split among the program's creator, the Web site owner and NBBC.

After a successful experience last spring, Disney's ABC announced its return to the Web on Sept. 23 with a new advertising-supported program lineup. Seven of the network's series will get Web play. ABC also announced a new fall promotional deal with Apple's iTunes.

CBS announced that premiere episodes of three of its series would be shown on Google Video.

While CBS and Fox have previously done revenue sharing deals with affiliate stations, is now exploring Internet opportunities with station support. Instead of revenue sharing, ABC is letting stations sell local advertising on and keep all of the revenue.

To help protect station exclusivity, ABC will allow affiliates to host a co-branded version of the video player on their own local Web sites.

NBC is also creating a special online video player for its NBC 24/7 venture. New NBC series will be streamed on the player, which, like, is free and ad-supported. The NBC 24/7 branding is set to begin Oct. 1.

The network also said that new and returning NBC series would launch live blogs immediately after their on-air premieres, each written by the series' executive producers.

Apple's iTunes and ABC are creating "Million Hit Lowdown," a promotion running through Oct. 4 that will offer one million free downloads of last season's finales of “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and “Grey's Anatomy.”