News Corporation/NBC Universal Joint Venture Adds Content Partners

News Corporation and NBC Universal announced the addition of FUEL TV, Oxygen, SPEED, Sundance Channel and TV Guide to their premium video joint venture’s growing roster of professional content partners. Each network will bring a variety of original content that showcases its unique programming expertise to the new site and video network on a non-exclusive basis.

"Each of our new content partners has a reputation for creating premium entertainment experiences designed to fulfill television viewers’ more eclectic needs," said George Kliavkoff, chief digital officer, NBC Universal and interim CEO of the joint venture. “We are delighted they have all agreed to contribute their compelling content to our venture, which will help ensure our ability to satisfy the more personalized demands of the growing number of Web video consumers."

Under the terms of its agreements with FUEL TV and SPEED, the new venture will distribute both partners’ short-form content across its distribution network and will host their programming on its destination site. The venture’s distribution network currently includes some of the most-popular sites on the Web, including AOL, MSN, MySpace, Yahoo, Comcast and CNET.

Oxygen, the only cable network owned and operated by women, will contribute short-form content from its vast array of unconventional and original programming, initially including The Bad Girls Club, Fight Girls, 50 Funniest Women and Our Bodies, Myself.

“Oxygen is committed to making our content available on every platform that our audience is, and this is an excellent opportunity to do just that,” said Mary Murano, president of distribution for Oxygen. “Broadband is fast becoming the future of content distribution and it is important for Oxygen to be at the forefront. We are looking forward to a great partnership with some of the industry’s leading companies.”

The new venture will also distribute a wide range of Sundance Channel programming, including full-length original series, exclusive webisodes, short films, original short-form content shot exclusively for the Web and clips from feature films and documentaries. Included in the offerings are selections from Sundance Channel’s new weekly environmental block, THE GREEN, featuring all 13 episodes from the original series Big Ideas for a Small Planet as well as short form series Ecoists and Eco Biz along with original webisodes exploring each week’s eco theme hosted by Simran Sethi. All six episodes of Sundance Channel’s series One Punk Under God, looking at alternative Christian minister Jay Bakker, will also be offered.

Larry Aidem, Sundance Channel’s president and CEO noted, “Sundance Channel’s participation in this new News Corp./NBCU joint venture underscores our strategy and efforts to expand the reach of Sundance Channel content beyond the linear network to a thriving audience seeking our content across multiple platforms.”

In addition to distributing content from TV Guide Broadband, an advertising-supported video service offering programming about the world of television and entertainment, across all its distribution partner sites, the venture’s destination site will offer fresh and entertaining short-form video content from TV Guide Broadband, including: TV Guide’s recommendations for the best shows, movies and music on television; interviews with top celebrities; behind-the-scenes from the hottest TV shows; and highlights from TV Guide Network’s original programming such as America’s Next Producer and Red Carpet interviews from the major Hollywood awards shows.

“Our partnership with the new joint venture underscores TV Guide’s continued commitment to extending our brand and valued content to broadband users, and we are excited to work with blue chip distributors that are paving the future for online video entertainment. The combined efforts of these industry leaders will surely create an amazing product, and we like to partner with winners,” said Ryan O’Hara, president of TV Guide Network and TV Guide Broadband. “Consumer appetite for TV and video content on the web is exploding, and TV Guide Broadband will deliver a best-in-class video channel with the most comprehensive collection of content covering the world of TV and entertainment.”

Launching later this summer, News Corporation and NBC Universal's video destination and network will feature thousands of hours of full-length TV programming, clips and movies, representing premium content from close to twenty networks and major television and film studios. In addition to the partners announced today, the venture has also signed non-equity content agreements with CNET and Comcast Corporation, which has agreed to contribute content from E!, Style, G4, Versus and Golf Channel.

The new NBCU/News Corp. joint venture will have offices in Los Angeles and New York. Permanent management and corporate branding will be announced shortly.