EU lets loose ‘YouTube killer’

NBC U, News Corp. can launch site

LONDON — NBC Universal and News Corp.’s plans to take on YouTube with an as yet unnamed video portal of their own have been given the greenlight by European Union regulators.

The 50/50 joint venture, described by some as a “YouTube killer,” was approved by the European Commission automatically on Thursday, after it identified no antitrust concerns and received no complaints from rivals.

The $100 million service is due to launch this summer and will be built around a website offering free full-length TV series and movie downloads from the NBC, Universal and Fox libraries.

Content will also be distributed to other online platforms, including AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft’s MSN and News Corp.’s MySpace.

The news follows reports this week that News Corp. is interested in exchanging MySpace, which it acquired in August 2005, with Yahoo for a 25% stake in the Internet giant. Deal could potentially strengthen the nascent online video venture and help bring other media congloms on board.

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