‘Clown Co.’ YouTube Killer to Launch

A News Corp and NBC Universal joint venture to distribute TV shows and movies online could be announced as soon as Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times, following on a similar report from paidContent earlier this week.

The site would include premium video and “clips that users can modify,” and it would also syndicate the content on sites owned by Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, and MySpace. The idea is to mount competition to tech companies Google and Apple, which have grabbed control of online media distribution while entertainment companies dallied.

“People close to the negotiations” distanced themselves from the moniker “YouTube killer,” saying they could possibly partner with Google as well, says the LA Times. However, Google continues to alienate big media, letting it slip that its internal nickname for the joint venture is “Clown Co.”

If big media has learned anything, and the content is reasonably priced, usable, and shareable, there’s no reason why the project couldn’t have a meaningful presence across its massive proposed audience. We shall see soon enough.

Perhaps YouTube should give up the ghost, and focus on the vibrant creator population it has fostered. The site does have its bragged-about 1,000-plus smaller distribution deals in the bank, and it’s apparently maintained traffic growth since Viacom started acting up. Maybe the long tail is where it’s at.

(Viacom dropped out of the joint-venture talks in favor of suing Google; Time Warner, CBS, and Sony Pictures Entertainment could still sign on, according to the LA Times.)