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Internet Video

AOL Unit to Sell Ads for Net TV Venture

3/30/2007 3:35 AM Eastern

AOL’s Advertising.com subsidiary will manage the advertising functions for the yet-to-be-named Internet-video venture formed by NBC Universal and News Corp.

NBC U and News Corp., in announcing their NewCo partnership last week, promised that it would deliver thousands of hours of free, ad-supported TV programming and other video content when it launches this summer.

Advertising.com, which AOL bought in 2004, will use its Lightningcast video-ad-serving platform to deliver and manage advertising for programming, movies and video clips that will be available via the network.

NewCo is seen as the result of media companies’ reluctance to come to terms with Google’s YouTube video-sharing site on distributing full-length programming. The venture represents “the largest Internet video-distribution network ever assembled,” via initial portal partners AOL, MSN, Yahoo and MySpace, the companies said.

Revenue from ads -- to be primarily sold by a dedicated sales team set up by NBC U and News Corp. -- will be shared among NewCo’s media partners. The companies said display and video advertising inventory not sold by NewCo’s direct-sales team will be sold by Advertising.com.

Last week, NBC U CEO Jeff Zucker said initial advertisers include Cadbury Schweppes, Cisco Systems, Esurance, Intel, General Motors and Royal Caribbean International. On the day of the announcement, he noted that NewCo had landed two new advertisers, one of which was Royal Caribbean.

Time Warner -- the majority owner of AOL -- has not indicated whether it will license its TV content to NewCo. Other major media companies that have not committed to the venture include Disney and Viacom, the latter of which filed a $1 billion copyright-infringement suit against YouTube and Google earlier this month.

September